Articles tagged with: sustainability

  • MEOPAR Blog: Mitigation will not be enough: we need to adapt

    Flood waters rise up to the Niagara Rowing School and Paddlesport Centre at the Jordan Harbour Conservation Area, June 2019.

    What is adaptation and why is it important?

    The top scientists around the globe know our climate is changing at a faster rate than Earth has ever experienced—largely as a result of the actions taken by humans since the industrial revolution. This is resulting in changes to the Earth’s natural processes, including our climate, and action needs to be taken to slow down and deal with these changes.

    These actions can take on two different forms: mitigation or adaptation. Mitigation refers to actions taken to slow down climate changes, mainly targeted at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, for example. Adaptation, on the other hand, goes even further: acknowledging that even if we halted 100% of all emissions right now, we will still inevitably see some of the effects of climate change for decades. Adaptation means preparing for the inevitability of these changes by engaging in actions or strategies to better respond to the risks of climate change. Strategies may be either reactive (drying out your basement and preventing mould after you’re have been flooded) or proactive (relocating entirely because your house is getting too close to the shoreline).

    Adaptation actions may include:

    • flood prevention
    • relocation
    • land use changes
    • health programs
    • restoration of shorelines and forests
    • smart building design

    To successfully tackle the complex challenge of climate change, a combination of mitigation and adaptation efforts need to be prioritized by everyone: from federal to municipal governments, as well as local agencies, businesses and community members. Using the Town of Lincoln as a case study, the MEOPAR-Lincoln research project focuses on how communities can adapt to changing environmental conditions, and what will ultimately motivate citizens to get involved and start moving into action.

    A wide range of community voices will be needed to complete this study, as there will be a wide range of impacts to be addressed and strategies to be examined.

    Continue to monitor this page to read new blog posts every week. These posts are written by the MEOPAR Research Team, comprised of Liette Vasseur, Meredith DeCock, Bradley May and Alex Marino. For more information about the project, contact us using this form, or, via email at

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    Categories: MEOPAR-Lincoln Blog, Updates of the Chair

  • MEOPAR Blog: Mitigation, A fancy way to say “Reduce the use of fossil fuels!”

    Flooding under the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) leads to partial closures of Charles Daley Park, Spring 2019.

    How much do you like driving your car or turning up the heat in your home on a frigid winter day? How often are you awake long after the sun has gone down, relying on the flick of a light switch in order to go about your evening routine? While many of these things are considered a common part of life, have you ever wondered where the energy comes from to do everything that we often take for granted?

    Many of the modern conveniences we rely on every day require the use of natural gas or gasoline—both of which emit a lot of greenhouse gases. The more of these gases that get pumped into the air, the greater the impact to our climate and our overall health and well-being. As convenient as it is to jump in our cars and zip from Point A to Point B, the ozone emitted by those cars creates smog that causes major health issues, like asthma and cancer, prompts our government to issue air quality advisories and cautions us from spending too much time outdoors.

    So, what can we do?

    We can start by committing to making a few, little lifestyle changes today. If we want future generations to enjoy life the way that we have, spending time outdoors engaging in Canadian summer pastimes like hiking and boating, we can’t afford to wait.

    A good place to start is by having open, honest and intergenerational discussions about our consumption patterns and over-use of resources. Think about whether your next potential purchase is a want or a need, for example. Do you really need a new car or a new cell phone, or do you just want to keep up with the latest update and features and your current device still does the trick? Do you need a new house of several thousand square feet for only two people, or, would a more modest dwelling suffice? If your initial response is that yes, you need it, then ask yourself why? While it’s nice to have the newest technology or an extra bedroom or two in our home, these material possessions and status symbols won’t be worth much when our forests and waterways are gone and there’s no clean air to breathe.

    It doesn’t have to happen all at once and no one is expecting you to relinquish all your possessions and decide to stop driving your car overnight. However, we all need to commit to doing our small part to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions now before it’s too late. It won’t be easy, and we’ll all need to put in the work because it’s not only up to governments to do something—we are all responsible for making changes. Even if we can only commit to small, incremental changes at first.

    It’s time to rethink the future we want and the steps we can take to mitigate the impacts of climate change. We have to do this only for us, but also for our children, our grandchildren, and all other future generations on this planet we share.

    Continue to monitor this page to read new blog posts every week. These posts are written by the MEOPAR Research Team, comprised of Liette Vasseur, Meredith DeCock, Bradley May and Alex Marino. For more information about the project, contact us using this form, or, via email at


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    Categories: MEOPAR-Lincoln Blog, Updates of the Chair

  • Deadline nearing for Sustainability Poetry Contest

    Brock’s UNESCO Chair has declared the theme of its annual Sustainability Poetry Contest to be aligned with the ‘International Year of Indigenous Languages.’ Poems are being accepted from everyone in the Niagara region until Feb. 15.

    There’s still time to enter the 2019 Sustainability Poetry Contest, presented by Brock University’s UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability, Liette Vasseur.

    Poets are encouraged to submit their English and French poems that relate to this year’s theme, International Year of Indigenous Languages, until Friday, Feb. 15 at 5 p.m.

    The contest is open to all residents of Niagara (inclusive of members of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and Six Nations), and will operate in co-operation with Indigenous groups and stakeholders across the region.

    Poems can be submitted online by visiting the UNESCO Chair’s website or via email to

    Prizes such as books and gift cards will be awarded in each of four categories: elementary student; high school student; college/university student; and general public.

    Winners will be announced at the UNESCO World Poetry Day celebration at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 21 at Mahtay Café in downtown St. Catharines.

    The event is free and open to the public, but registration will be required as space is limited. Register onEventbrite.

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    Categories: Updates of the Chair