My program focuses on community involvement in environmental governance, the learning implications of involvement (e.g., cognitive, value, behavioural and relational change), and the consequences for social aspects of sustainability, such as equity, empowerment and capacity development. My work encompasses environmental assessment, risk management, and institutional and policy analysis, and it includes involvement and learning at multiple societal levels (e.g., by individuals, groups and organizations).
1) Judicial environmentalism and the poor: Examining the impacts of green benches of state high courts and National Green Tribunals in India (2017-20)
The purposes of this project are to assess the impacts of high court and NGT rulings on environmental protection and social development and provide a foundation for improved exchange and learning between Canada and India with respect to institutional and legal innovations. The project is funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (Kirit Patel, PI) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program. Our project partners are Gujarat National Law University, the Foundation for Ecological Security and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
2) Evaluating experiential learning programs to support biodiversity conservation in urban gardens (2017-18)
The aim of this study is to explore home gardeners’ values for their yard, and the environmental, personal or social changes that have occurred there as a result of being engaged in environmental learning programs. We hope that the project will yield practical recommendations regarding garden learning programs and a theoretical framework for explaining how participant’s values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours form and change as a result of participation in garden-based learning. The study is funded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA) (Christopher Raymond, PI) and the University of Winnipeg in partnership with FortWhyte Alive. We are also very grateful for the additional support provided by Manitoba Master Gardeners who were engaged during the course of the project. For a copy of a preliminary executive summary of study results, click here.
3) Wa Ni Ska Tan: Cross-regional research alliance on the implications of hydro development for environments and Indigenous communities in northern Canada (2016-23)
Supported by a SSHRC Partnership Grant (Stéphan McLachlan, PI) and numerous community and university partners, the alliance is exploring the implications of hydropower for nearby environments and Indigenous communities in Manitoba and other affected regions in Canada, and investigating how and to what degree it might enable healing as well as meaningful and desirable social and environmental change. As part of the alliance, I am working with UW colleagues, Melanie O'Gorman, Ian Mauro and Jerry Buckland, along with Leslie Dysart of the Community Association of South Indian Lake, to prepare an oral history and analysis of experiences and future opportunities in O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation.
4) Small hydro development in Himachal Pradesh, India (2015-18)
Supported by grants from The University of Winnipeg, this project will: (1) describe the extent and nature of small hydro development in Himachal Pradesh (e.g., the number, location, environs, and characteristics of such projects); (2) assess the impacts of small hydro development in the state (e.g., reduced stream flow, loss of forest, more reliable power, increased local economic opportunities); and, (3) make recommendations for increasing the sustainability of small hydro in the state, especially with respect to locally affected communities. The project is being done in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Manitoba, Bath Spa University, and the G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development.