Successful Stewardship

Successful stewardship or land care means attending to the goals of the people on the land in ecological, economic and cultural considerations. Stewardship is not really very different from care of communities on the land so that the resilience of their ecosystem is safeguarded. An outstanding characteristic of stewardship or ecological land care is that […]

Cats and Birds

A recent study by Environment Canada published in Avian Conservation and Ecology estimated that human activities accounted for about 270 million bird deaths in a year. Cat predation accounted for about 75% of the total bird deaths – just over 200 million. At the same time, some bird species in Canada have declined by up […]

Effects of Impoundments

We have many dams on Ontario streams (1,596 medium and large dams*). Too often, discussions of watershed management suggest only control structures such as dams, but few fundamentals such as watershed habitats, particularly headwaters, and stream conditions. Dams don’t just control floods; dams have other impacts both upstream and downstream.

 

Impounding water upstream of dams and […]

Sustainability is Not Only About Humans

Recently, the Globe and Mail gave Canada’s colleges significant, welcome publicity. But the marketing program labeled “sustainability” is questionable. Policies, teaching and research in the colleges that is flagged “sustainability” actually only addresses reducing negative human impacts on our natural ecosystems. These college programs are about damage prevention, not sustaining our natural riches or the […]

Evidence and Decisions

A policy or a management decision about the environment has two major components. Simplified, we can call these content and process. Content deals with the evidence about the issue while process is about how a decision is reached and applied.

 

Over the span of several recent Canadian governments, decisions about our environment have given higher priority […]

Weighing and Marketing the Evidence

It is now a common opinion that discussions of environmental (ecological) issues should be based on evidence. Considering current sources of information from social media flashes and TV clips, one must ask: what constitutes evidence? And how should we weigh or value various types of evidence?

 

Knowledge is produced from research by several groups with differing […]

Managing for Beauty

Lake planning and management is not just making technical measurements and using some scientific understanding to set values that those measurements should match. That was one view of lake plans and, in its simplest form, all that was required was to measure total phosphorus in the water and make a plan to hold that measurement […]

Human Ambitions and Environmental Sustainability

Aldo Leopold noted that “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds… An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor… (Leopold, A., 1953. Round River. New York, […]

Freedom of Speech and National Heritage

It has been reported that when Dr. Sarah Parcak, world-renowned United States archaeologist, received funding from the National Geographic Society to conduct research at Point Rosee, Newfoundland, she was required to sign a gag-order on her potential findings (known in the world of business as a ‘non-disclosure agreement’).

 

Point Rosee contains a possible second historical Norse […]

Ecological Footprinting and Global Futures

Global Human Population

 

The United Nations World Food Program recorded for 2016-17 that 795 million people in developing countries did not have enough food and 12.9% of the populations of developing countries were undernourished. Starvation caused 45% of all children’s deaths – 3.1 million children died of starvation.

 

Clearly we are not feeding large numbers of people. […]