Articles tagged with: unesco

  • MEOPAR BLOG: Call for Photographs


    We have discussed what climate change is and the importance of adapting to the environmental changes occurring and anticipated. But how can we be sure that some of these changes are truly a result of climate change? MEOPAR team member Meredith DeCock is hoping to demonstrate just that with her master’s thesis.

    Brock University Master of Sustainability Science and Society Candidate, Meredith DeCock is conducting an analysis of the Lincoln shoreline of Lake Ontario to see how it has changed since the 1930’s. As part of her research project, she is asking for help from the community. She is interested in acquiring electronic copies of historical photographs anyone may have of the shoreline to help visualize how it has changed over time. Photographs are important visuals in climate change research to help tell the story over time. It is a way of sharing your local knowledge and contributing to the research project.

    Don’t miss out on an opportunity to participate in a local research project!

    Photos are now being accepted until October 31, 2019. 

    Find out more information on the project and how to submit your photographs here.
    *Please remember to sign a waiver (found at the web address above) and submit it with your photograph(s)*

    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 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

  • Brock research explores potential new tourism niche in Niagara through UN designation

    New research by Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) says there’s potential to enhance Niagara’s vibrant tourism industry if the region were to become a UNESCO Global Geopark.

    Monday, February 04, 2019 | by 
    From: The Brock News 

    Visitors coming to Niagara have lots to see and do thanks to the region being a top tourism destination.

    New research by Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) says there’s potential to enhance Niagara’s vibrant tourism industry if the region were to become a UNESCO Global Geopark.

    A Global Geopark is an area containing “sites and landscapes of international geological significance,” according to UNESCO.

    “Being designated a UNESCO Global Geopark allows Niagara to brand itself internationally as a destination for geotourism,” says Carol Phillips, author of the NCO’s policy brief Ohnia:kara, An Aspiring Global Geopark.

    “Niagara has a fascinating earth history that has created so many beautiful sites, culminating in Niagara Falls,” she says. “This brand allows us to showcase those sites as well as the history and culture that has developed around them.”

    The policy brief discusses the concept of a geopark in more detail, describes the efforts of the geographic educational non-profit Geospatial Niagara to apply to become a geopark, offers case studies from other areas of the world and outlines “next steps” in the application process.

    The NCO will launch the policy brief Ohnia:kara, An Aspiring Global Geopark Thursday, Feb. 7 at Brock University. A panel will discuss the brief and the way forward for Niagara.

    What: Launching of NCO policy brief Ohnia:kara, An Aspiring Global Geopark
    When: Thursday, Feb. 7 from 9 to 11 a.m.
    Where: Room 207, Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex, Brock University
    Who: Carol Phillips, Research Co-ordinator, Niagara Community Observatory
    Panelists: Darren Platakis, Geospatial Niagara, Ohnia:kara Steering Committee; David Fennell, Professor, Geography and Tourism, Brock University, Ohnia:kara Steering Committee; Walter Sendzik, Mayor, St. Catharines; Phil Davis, Indigenous Culture Liaison, Ohnia:kara Steering Committee.

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    Categories: Updates of the Chair

  • Brock researchers to introduce coastal research project to Lincoln residents and stakeholders

    A research project examining how coastal communities can deal with the impacts of climate change will formally launch in the Town of Lincoln this week.

    The town suffered around $1 million in damage as a result of back-to-back spring storms in 2017 that caused massive flooding from Lake Ontario. Announced in May, Brock University Professor and UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability Liette Vasseur is leading a three-year research study that will focus on Lincoln as the Ontario component of a wider project by Université du Québec à Rimouski.

    The local research is being funded through a $280,000 grant from the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) with additional support from the Town of Lincoln and Brock.

    The Lincoln research will officially be launched on Thursday, Nov. 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Fleming Centre in Beamsville. Interested residents and land owners will be able to meet Vasseur and her research team and learn more about how they can participate in the project. There will also be a short discussion to learn more about the experiences of those in attendance around climate change and extreme weather events in the town.

    “Our strong partnership with Brock enables these types of on-the-ground research opportunities, informing and providing evidence-based decisions for our community,” said Town of Lincoln CAO Michael Kirkopoulos.

    Vasseur said she hopes the end result of the research will be sustainable options for the future such as how to help slow down and prevent shoreline erosion or any other impacts on the town.

    “With this project, we want to help the community and the town contribute to solutions and strategies to adapt to climate change,” she said.

    What: MEOPAR Town of Lincoln Research Project Launch

    When: Thursday, Nov. 29, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

    Where: Fleming Centre, Room A, 5020 Serena Dr., Beamsville

    Who: Open to all


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    Categories: Updates of the Chair

  • 2019 Sustainability Poetry Contest celebrates International Year of Indigenous Languages

    Language plays a critical role in the daily lives, histories and identities of people around the world.

    Despite the important connections tied to the words we speak, UNESCO has identified more than 2,000 languages spoken by Indigenous peoples around the world that are in serious danger of disappearing.

    In an effort to recognize the important contribution these languages play in our cultural diversity, Brock’s UNESCO Chair in Community Sustainability has declared the theme of its annual Sustainability Poetry Contest to be aligned with the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

    Every year, the contest calls for writers from the local community to submit unpublished poems and artwork on themes related to sustainability.

    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.

    UNESCO Chair Liette Vasseur said the contest will raise awareness about the need to preserve, revitalize and promote Indigenous languages and knowledge around the world.

    “I believe this is one small step that contributes to the sharing of knowledge with and about Indigenous peoples of Canada,” she said. “Their knowledge and languages are essential to understanding where we come from as a society and the sustainability of the environment around us.”

    The contest also seeks to promote the steps being taken by UNESCO, other United Nations agencies and stakeholders around the world to support, access and promote Indigenous languages in co-operation with the people who speak them.

    In Canada, every effort should be made to contribute to the Truth and Reconciliation Call for Action, Vasseur said — and little steps count.

    UNESCO has been celebrating March 21 as World Poetry Day since 1999. The contest uses poetry as a tool to bring awareness to social issues, give a voice to the community, promote linguistic diversity and change the way people view their place in the world.

    Vasseur said this year’s poetry contest has an especially important role to play in the promotion and preservation of linguistic diversity, culture and identity for vulnerable Indigenous communities in Canada.

    Poems can be submitted online until 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15. Click here to submit a poem.

    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 here


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    Categories: Updates of the Chair