Articles by author: Erin Daly

  • Green Infrastructure/Low Impact Development in the Town of Lincoln

    Blog Contributor: April Sorenson

    Increased rainfall in the Town of Lincoln is stressing existing infrastructure 

    Due to climate change, increasing storm severity is causing more frequent flooding in Ontario. The traditional infrastructure designed to handle rainwater is unable to handle the increasing volumes. As a result, municipalities are looking for new and sustainable ways to handle the excess water and prevent flooding. A type of Green Infrastructure, called Low Impact Development (LID), is one solution. Green Infrastructure includes all of the natural vegetative systems and innovative development practices that restore natural processes. LID is a development strategy that strives to mimic the natural hydrologic cycle. In contrast to conventional infrastructure such as curbs, gutters and sewers that move stormwater out of the city as soon as possible, LID works to mimic the natural hydrologic cycle by allowing stormwater to infiltrate on site. This allows for increased groundwater recharge, reduced flooding and reduced pollutants in the water supply. Types of LID include: rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, permeable pavement and rainwater harvesting. LID is one way to increase social and ecological resiliency because it decreases vulnerability to climate change and contributes to human and ecological health by reducing flooding, improving water quality and providing greenspace for people and wildlife. 

     The Town of Lincoln plans to develop a Green Infrastructure/Low Impact Development Design Standard with funds awarded from the Great Lakes Emerging Champions Mini-Grant. The Emerging Champions Mini-Grants are part of the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Program being undertaken by the Great Lakes Commission with financial support from the Erb Family Foundation. The grants help mid-sized communities develop strategies to overcome barriers and increase LID implementation in the Great Lakes Basin by providing mentorship and financial support. In addition to this grant, the Town will be hiring a consultant and working with Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre to create the Design Standard. This Standard will provide staff, developers, residents, and property owners with direction on landscape-based LID stormwater management planning and design. It will encourage the installation, operation, and maintenance of LID in the town. The Design Standard will be a big step towards a more resilient and sustainable future for the Town of Lincoln. 

    Categories: Blog, Brock Lincoln Living Lab, Innovative Partnership, SSAS Student Contributor

  • Creating Connections with the Community through the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab

    Blog Contributor: April Sorenson 

    Photo: Faculty members from the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre lead a workshop for the members of the Senior Management Team at the Town of Lincoln to assist in the development of a Brock-Lincoln Living Lab Action Plan. 

    What happens with the abundance of knowledge and research generated by universities? Usually, it stays within academic spheres for years or decades before reaching the communities that would benefit from it. In this way, the knowledge is not “mobilized” efficiently. Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Center (ESRC) is attempting to change this through their innovative community partnerships. The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab is one of five partnerships that the ESRC has undertaken over the past several years in order to mobilize knowledge in the community. Living labs are user-centered, open innovation systems that integrate research and innovation processes in reallife communities. The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab is a fiveyear partnership between Brock University and the Town of Lincoln that strives to bridge the gap between theory and practice in order to solve complex sustainability challenges. 

    Both Brock University and the Town of Lincoln benefit from this partnership. Students in the Master of Sustainability graduate program are able to gain work experience through research assistant opportunities, co-op work placements and through hands-on projects in a graduate  course called Problem Solving in the Environment (SSAS 5P03) where they are taking on consulting projects for the Town in Winter 2020. The Town also benefits from these types of experiences because the research that students complete can better guide policy decisions and provide evidencebased solutions to ongoing sustainability challenges 

    In 2019, one of the specific projects undertaken by this partnership involved working with the Senior Management Team to create an Operational Action Plan for the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab. So far, the partnership has produced a report of the existing assets in the Town and a needs assessment was also conducted to help guide future action. Overall, this partnership is an opportunity to improve the local community through collaboration and innovation. The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab is one of the first partnerships of its kind and is leading the way towards effective sustainability action in the local community.  

    Categories: Brock Lincoln Living Lab, Innovative Partnership, SSAS Student Contributor

  • Master of Sustainability student chosen to present at national conference

    THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 06, 2020 | by

    Meredith DeCock-Caspell, a master of Sustainability student at Brock University, was one of only three graduate students across Canada chosen to present at a national conference this week.

    DeCock-Caspell participated in the Student Delegate Program as part of the MSA Research and Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) Connect 2020 conference. The three-day conference, which took place in Toronto from Feb. 3 to 5, brought together industry, academia and government to discuss Canadian natural and human-made catastrophes. The conference is focused on catastrophe management and fostering collaboration before, during and after catastrophic events.

    She said being selected as a student delegate for CatIQ Connect 2020 was a momentous moment in her studies.

    “This opportunity means a great deal to me,” she said. “Not only do I get to share my research and that of my team with a broad national audience, but it is an incredible networking opportunity.”

    Her research analyses how the Town of Lincoln’s shoreline has changed over time and the role that climatic factors and human activities have played in its evolution. This is part of a larger project that is working directly with the community to co-construct adaptation strategies and understand the barriers stopping those communities from acting on climate change.

    DeCock-Caspell is utilizing a combination of historical air photographs, climatic and non-climatic data and land-based photographs submitted from the community to tell the story of shoreline evolution in Lincoln. The photograph comparisons will later be integrated with the coastline analysis maps in an online, accessible web application that will be shared with the public. The technique she is utilizing can also be generalized to other communities interested in disaster risk reduction and adaptation to the increased exposure to natural hazards brought about by climate change.

    “Being selected to speak about my research at an event such as this affirms that what I am doing matters, not only to the residents of the community I am working with, but to all Canadians,” DeCock-Caspell said.

    Story from The Brock News

    Categories: Awards, Conferences, SSAS Program

  • ESRC Faculty, Staff and Students Honoured at Celebration of Excellence

    On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, the Faculty of Social Science at Brock University hosted their annual Celebration of Excellence to honour outstanding Social Science faculty, staff, and students. Among this year’s winners were several ESRC faculty and staff, as well as a number of SSAS students and alumni – all of whom are listed below. On behalf of ESRC Director Dr. Ryan Plummer, and SSAS Graduate Program Director Dr. Marilyne Jollineau, we would like to extend our congratulations to everyone who was recognized this year!

    SSAS Student Awards

    Bluma Appel Graduate Entrance Scholarship for Excellence in Social Sciences – Bridget McGlynn

    Distinguished Graduate Student Award – Emilie Jobin Poirier, Angela Mallette

    Graduate Student Research Excellence Award – Brooke Kapeller

    Joan P. Nicks Graduate Scholarship – Nolan Kelly

    Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Masters) – Meredith DeCock, Angela Mallette

    Ontario Graduate Scholarship – Samantha Witkowski, Jessica Zugic

    Rovinelli Family Bursary in Environmental Sustainability – Meredith DeCock, Nolan Kelly

    Student Travel Award – Meredith DeCock

    Faculty and Staff Awards

    Brock SSHRC Explore/Exchange Program Grant – Tim Heinmiller

    Community Engagement Award – Amanda Smits, Centre Administrator

    CRISS Events Award – Michael Pisaric

    NSERC Discovery Grant – Michael Pisaric

    SSHRC Insight Development Grant – Jessica Blythe

    Water Canada’s 2019 National Water’s Next Award (Academic Category Finalist) – Julia Baird

    Categories: Awards, Event, SSAS Program

  • Leo LeBlanc Rowing Centre LED Lighting Upgrade

    Blog Contributors: Ryan Stewart, Energy Manager, Maintenance and Utilities Services & Nolan Kelly 

    Brock University’s commitment to become more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient continues with the most recent LED lighting upgrade in the Leo LeBlanc Rowing Center. The Leo LeBlanc Rowing Center is a high-performance rowing training facility that is home to Brock University’s rowing teams. The center allows the teams to combine conventional work out equipment with an eight-person tank to train as if they were out on the open water. The previous lighting fixtures in the center were energy intensive and caused operational issues for the occupants, as it would take up to 10 minutes to ramp up to full output. These lighting fixtures have since been replaced for a type of LED light that is brighter and that operates at a greatly reduced power requirement, which makes it more efficient. This LED lighting fixture also offers an instantaneous start-up to full output (no more 10 min wait for the fixtures to come up to full output) which makes the center more much accessible to the rowers. Within this new lighting fixture there also exists dimming capabilities and an increased rated life of 50,000 hours. The project was completed in December of 2019 and cost $6,772.20. The project qualified for an incentive from the Local Distribution Company of $1,680.00 and with an annual Energy Savings Projects Project Profile electrical savings of 23,695 kWh (equating to $4,620.50) the projects simple payback is just over 1 year. The project also results in a carbon savings of 16.75 eton CO2/per year, which is equivalent to taking approximately 6 cars off the roads 

     

    Project Details:  

    Project Cost: $6,772.20  

    Incentives/Grants: $1,680  

    Simple Payback: 1.07 years  

    Energy Savings: 23,695 kWh ($4,620.50)  

    CO2 Reduction: 16.75 eton  

    Project Completion: December 2019 

    Categories: Blog, Innovative Partnership, SSAS Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Life in the Thesis Stream of the Sustainability Science and Society program at Brock

    Blog Contributor: Meredith DeCock

    I always assumed I would return to the academic world to pursue a master’s degree. But I resisted this urge for years as it felt like something I should do, not necessarily something I felt a passion to do. If I was going to do a master’s, I wanted it be for a specific purpose and mean something. That is when I found sustainability science.

    I chose Brock, not only because it seemed to be the best sustainability science program in Canada, but I was really interested in a lot of the research being conducted at the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC). I reached out to my now supervisor, Dr. Liette Vasseur, as her work on ecosystem-based adaptation and ecosystem governance interested me. She was just starting a three-year long project with a neighbouring community that will help them co-generate adaptation strategies to combat the impacts of climate change. I was sold. I packed up my essentials and drove across the country to start the program in the fall of 2018.

    Being in either the thesis or MRP stream, your first semester is largely focused on just trying to figure out what grad school is all about. You are in a new school, and in my case, a new province, while trying to balance the seemingly never-ending work loads of classes and trying to understand your area of research.

    The second semester in the thesis stream you have a slightly lighter course load compared to your MRP peers; however, I found second semester busier than the first. I took on an extra course, held a research assistantship position with the ESRC, and took on a few other professional development opportunities that Brock offers such as presenting at the Brock Mapping New Knowledges (MNK) Conference, completing a certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and submitting an article to a journal for peer-review. But to ensure I did not fall behind, I considered my research proposal its own class. I did not let a week go by without working on my research proposal. It is easy to let your research slide to the backburner in the first two terms of the program; however, if you schedule time into your week dedicated to your thesis, you will be successful.

    I am thankful that I am working with a supervisor on a specific project as I wanted to complete a master’s knowing that my research project is feeding into something larger. However, I know that is not the case for everyone. There is no right way to go about it, but it is great to know that there are options and that you will feel supported by the ESRC regardless of which route you choose.

    Categories: Blog, SSAS Program, SSAS Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Life in the Master of Sustainability Program – Second Semester 2019

    Blog Contributor: Connor Thompson

    The second semester seemed to pick up right where the program left off in December. I think the cohort expected to ease into the winter term, but our hopes were immediately dashed thanks to a few quick deadlines. Such is life in grad school!

    Both of this semester’s courses were taught by Dr. Jessica Blythe. Jessica absolutely loves working in academia and that passion comes through clearly in her lectures. If you have the opportunity to take any of her courses I highly recommend it, her excitement is infectious and she makes coming to class an enjoyable experience every week.

    SSAS 5P03 – Problem Solving in the Environment

    This is the program’s project management course. Our class was kept as a single project team, tasked with creating a sustainable tourism framework for the Town of Lincoln through our Living Lab agreement. You can expect a few bumps along the way, but a strong group dynamic can overcome just about anything 5P03 throws at you.

    SSAS 5P04 – Transdisciplinary Seminar

    If this course sounds familiar it is because I wrote about it last semester too, 5P04 runs in both the fall and winter. The seminar brought researchers and professionals in to speak with us from across disciplines, which was incredibly useful in bridging sustainability research, policy, and practice. These events are open to the public and you can see past seminars here.

    SSAS 5P12 – Climate Change Adaptation & Transformation

    This course was steadily demanding throughout the semester, largely because we were required to read two articles and submit a 500 word critical response each week. We also created climate data projection reports for Walker Industries Inc. and many of their worksites across Canada, then we each read a book on climate change adaptation, wrote a review, and were given the option to submit it for hopeful publication in an academic journal. The weekly deadlines ensured that we had all completed and were able to speak to the readings with a high level of understanding, which lead to some fascinating conversations on how we communicate about climate change as sustainability scientists.

    The Co-op Job Search

    There is no formal course requirement for co-op students in the second semester, as the focus becomes putting those skills to work and securing a job. The co-op hunt is difficult so my only recommendation is to be prepared to search as soon as you start back at Brock in January. Expect to write a lot of cover letters, send many introductory emails, and spend an unreasonable amount of time on job boards. Look at it as preparation for life after the program!

    For more information about the Master of Sustainability program here at Brock, please visit: https://brocku.ca/esrc/ssas/

    Categories: Blog, SSAS Program, SSAS Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab Launches its Official Action Plan

    Blog Contributor: April Sorenson

    Through the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab (BL-LL) partnership, the Town of Lincoln has now launched its official Action Plan, a summary document highlighting the main work outlined in the Brock-Lincoln Living Lab Operational Action Plan that was finalized in Fall 2019. A community action plan is a road map for implementing community change. This action plan consists of a number of concrete actions that outline the people, resources and timeframes needed to assist the Town of Lincoln in becoming a more sustainable community. This Action Plan was designed to be a simple, accessible document that summarizes the main projects being undertaken by the BL-LL in the Town of Lincoln.  

    The five main projects identified in the Action Plan focus on the Town’s activities related to the following: 

    • A Community Hub 
    • The Economic Development Strategy 
    • The Town’s Tourism Strategy 
    • Water for Agriculture 
    • The Town’s Infiltration/Inflow Reduction Program 
    • Additional projects being led by faculty members in the ESRC at Brock University include research on the Urban Tree Canopy, the Prudhommes development project, and Niagara Adapts.  

    The document is designed to be used by city officials, residents and anyone wanting to learn more about the activities of the BL-LL. For each project the document also outlines the main goals of each project, the team members involved in the different projects, specific action items and the resources needed for each project. These projects are part of a five-year trajectory of the BL-LL designed to help the Town of Lincoln become a more sustainable community. 

    The Brock-Lincoln Living Lab Sustainability Action Plan is available on their website 

    Categories: Blog, Brock Lincoln Living Lab, Innovative Partnership, SSAS Student Contributor

  • 20 Sustainable Resolutions for 2020 

    Blog Contributor: Erica Harper

    2019 was the “Year of Sustainability” with the rise in environmental activism, Fridays For Future and various climate strikes in over 200 countries and 7 continents (1). More than ever, students are demanding to have their voices heard to ensure that local and world leaders treat the climate crisis like the emergency it is. Without a doubt, the younger generation will continue to advocate for more environmentally sustainable business practices, products and policies. Now, whether you have started your sustainability journey or not, there are endless changes you can make in your own life to demand a more sustainable world. Even small changes have the ability to create a domino effect and inspire others to make the same modifications in their lives to be more sustainable. Without a doubt, the new decade will continue to put sustainability at the forefront of policy at the local, provincial, national and world levels.  

    It’s important to note that sustainability can look different from person to person, and that there are a wide variety of changes you can make that will help you fit sustainability into your life. A new year (and decade) often come with resolutions that relate to goals, targets and ambitions that motivate us to be better people for ourselves, for others and for the planet. If you’re looking for ideas on how you can incorporate sustainability into your list of resolutions, here are 20 sustainable resolutions we’ve put together for 2020:  

    Food: 

    1. Try incorporating more meatless Mondays 
    2. Eat local/in-season foods by grocery shopping at farmers’ markets 
    3. Bring reusable bags and produce bags when grocery shopping 
    4. Try a new dairy-free milk 
    5. Purchase products in bulk, especially pantry items 

     Clothing: 

    1. Try not to buy any non-necessary new clothing items 
    2. Shop at thrift stores more often 
    3. Shop from ethical and local clothing companies 
    4. Learn how to sew to be able to repair your clothing when needed 
    5. When possible, repair and repurpose what you have instead of buying new clothing 

     Transportation: 

    1. Take the bus instead of driving yourself to school 
    2. Walk to local grocery stores, markets and restaurants instead of driving  
    3. Try biking to nearby establishments more often  
    4. Carpool with your friends and colleagues to school or work  
    5. Carbon offset your travel (learn more here) 

     Get Involved:  

    1. Ask your favourite brands questions about how they source and manufacture their products. Demand more sustainable alternatives when applicable. 
    2. Volunteer with a local environmental organization to help create change in your community 
    3. Join a sustainability/environmental club at school or at work to ensure that leaders within the university or organization are prioritizing sustainability. Create one if there isn’t one in place already! 
    4. Educate friends and family through sharing social media posts about climate change and the impact humans have on the environment  
    5. Donate to your favourite charity that supports environmental and sustainable initiatives 

    There you have it, 20 sustainable resolutions for 2020! Feel free to take these ideas as inspiration for what you hope to accomplish in the new decade to make our world a more sustainable place for future generations. Remember that small changes have the potential to make a big impact on the people and world around you. Whether you’re looking to make big or small sustainable changes to your current lifestyle, make sure to take it one step at a time and be patient with yourself! 

     To learn more about how you can lead a more sustainable lifestyle, check out these helpful resources below: 

    1) ZipCar’s 7 Ways to be More Sustainable 

    2) The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World

    3) Green Eco Tips to More Sustainable Living

    4) 10 Simple Ways to Live More Sustainably, Starting Today

    5) 100+ Simple Tips to Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

    Source: 

    (1): https://www.corporateknights.com/magazines/2019-education-and-youth-issue-3/youth-rising-meet-2019s-30-under-30-in-sustainability-15731064/ 

    Categories: Blog, Innovative Partnership, SSAS Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Coffee Cup Waste and Recycling Locations

    Blog Contributor: Nolan Kelly

    As the cold weather hits and exam season is in full swing, consumption of hot beverages on campus increases. With everything else going on during this time of the year it can be easy to forget about where all these cups are ending up. Last month, the Brock News posted an article that highlighted Brock’s most recent waste audit results from this year. The results revealed that coffee cups are Brock’s top recycling offender as only 2.1% are properly recycled on campus annually. This results in 97.9% of the cups ending up in landfills, which equates to 41.8 metric tons of waste! Brock University is committed to tackling this issue and coming up with solutions for how to reduce this number and improve awareness on campus.  

    While Brock has plans to address this issue, it is up to students to take part and make a difference when it comes to reducing their waste footprint and consuming sustainably. There are many simple steps that students can take such as bringing a reusable mug to campus. Every coffee serving location on campus offers a discount for those who do bring their own mug. General Brock customers who bring a reusable cup of any size pay just $1.25! This discount makes it the cheapest coffee on campus and also encourages sustainability. For those living in residence, dining halls have a punch card each time a student uses their reusable mug. In addition to the discount for every eight drinks they purchase with a reusable container, the ninth is free, which is extended to fountain pop, infused water and hot beverages like coffee and tea. If the cost savings and sustainability reasons are not enough to convince you to buy a reusable mug, there are also other benefits such as keeping your drink warmer, longer, and better protecting yourself from spills. 

    For those that do not have a reusable mug, there is still something you can do to reduce waste on campus! The coffee cups on campus are not recyclable, but they are compostable. This is why it is important to place cups in the designated recycling stations wherever coffee is sold on campus. There are 7 coffee cup recycling locations on campus, they are located in: Pond Inlet (2 bins), upper hall in South Block, Lower Welch Hall in South Block, Welch Hall in front of General Brock, near all three Tim Hortons locations, near the Library close to Starbucks, and at the Student Center near the Starbucks. By choosing to properly dispose of these cups it can make a significant difference in the amount of waste created by coffee cups each year! 

    Categories: Blog, Innovative Partnership, SSAS Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock