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Decarbonization is the logical choice

Studying and teaching sustainability in a fossil fuel driven economy like Alberta is interesting. The ability of many to afford things like higher education and organic fruits and vegetables relies on income from the ecologically devastating tar sands. But a number of reports from places like the Pembina Institute over the years have advocated for … Continue reading

Do we need to train empathy to achieve sustainability?

It seems that we are constantly looking for the reason why some people will engage in pro-environmental behaviour. Many of the links are tenuous at best. Recent research by Di Fabio and Kenny has explored how empathy connects to connectedness with nature with some promising results. Di Fabio and Kenny (2021) had Italian workers completing … Continue reading

Saving the Metals From Batteries

Batteries are incredibly useful technologies and key to many sustainable technologies. Unfortunately, the chemicals in batteries pose a huge environmental problem themselves. But a new study by Xiao et al (2021) may have a solution or at least an improvement over the current situation. Ultrasound is a relatively common imaging technology. It uses sound waves … Continue reading

Benefits of biking outweigh the negatives of air pollution

Every so often when I’m on my bike in traffic I wonder about the potential impacts of the air pollution I’m riding through. Do the benefits from riding override the negative health impacts of riding in poor air quality? Fortunately, Tainio et al (2016) asked this very question. They also included walking in their study … Continue reading

Predators that don’t hunt?

It hopefully isn’t a surprise to anyone that the natural world is changing. I mean nature changes but as Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring nature takes time to change. The rate of human induced change on the other hand happens on much shorter time scales, the consequences of which can be hard to predict. … Continue reading

Deadly urban heat is increasing

A recent study by Tuholske et al (2021) found that rising temperatures and growing urban populations have resulted in triple the number of person-days, a measure of the number of people affected, when people are exposed to extreme heat and humidity compared to the 1980s. As the authors state, this can increase mobidity, mortality, and … Continue reading

Can sustainability exist without social justice?

I started this blog when I stopped teaching science full time. I wanted an outlet for the reading I would continue to do and the questions I would continue to ask. Today I find my questions are becoming increasingly complex; it isn’t just about the science anymore. I remember two defining moments that contributed to … Continue reading

The cost of eating healthy

Fruits and vegetables are supposed to make up a significant amount of our diets and yet they are one of the most expensive items at the grocery store, let alone going to the farmer’s market. This, among other issues, makes it difficult or impossible for many of the world’s population to meet basic nutrition guidelines. … Continue reading

People forget about the wild part of wildlife

I went to Banff National Park this past weekend. Mostly I avoided popular places because Covid is raging in the province. But both times I ended up where people were, I saw people getting too close to wildlife and someone feeding or intending to feed the animals. To me, this behaviour is evident of the … Continue reading

Grading requires an ego that I don’t have, at least in sustainability

Okay, so 2+2=4. If that’s the question, I can probably grade it. But most of what I teach is sustainability and “right” answers are a lot less clear. I’ve been doing research into self-reflection and sustainable assessment recently for a project and I think it applies here. Sustainable assessment, described by Boud and Falchikov (2007), … Continue reading

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