• Advancing Marine Conservation through Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs): Expert Perspectives from a Delphi Study

      Maini, Bani
      To reverse unprecedented rates of global biodiversity loss, conservation efforts have focused on area-based conservation tools: protected areas (PAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs). Recently, the CBD has formally adopted a definition of OECMs, and the significance of OECMs has been established. Yet, marine OECMs require more support from the conservation community to clarify their role in marine area-based conservation. To do so, the study sought to highlight the key opportunities created, potential challenges associated with implementation, process and stakeholders for evaluation of effectiveness and vision of success for marine OECMs. The research employed a Delphi study with a group of 18 international marine conservation experts. Consensus was reported for opportunities, challenges, stakeholders for evaluation and vision of success for marine OECMs. Results of this research provide support for the important contributions of marine OCEMs to biodiversity conservation, add clarity the concepts and highlight areas for future research.
    • Analyzing the Relationships between Peer-Reviewed Literature and Ontario Best Practice Guides to aid the Understanding of Invasive Phragmites Control Methods

      Bott, Lyndsay
      Invasive Phragmites have been a challenge in North America for numerous decades, depleting the overall biodiversity of landscapes and surrounding habitats. Being identified as Canada’s worst invasive plant in 2005, invasive Phragmites have specifically been a significant detriment to natural areas in the Niagara region. This research study worked to formulate an understanding of the available invasive Phragmites control methods from both peer-reviewed literature and published Ontario best practice guides. The knowledge from both the scholarly and practical sectors has been compared to formulate a full understanding of effective control methods, which aided in the production of an infographic targeted at private landowners in the Niagara region. Above all, this research will work to educate a previously underrepresented group, with the goal to improve the long-term biodiversity and sustainability in the Niagara region.
    • Applying Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Protect Biodiversity of Avian Species in Coastal Communities in the Greater Niagara Region

      Gauthier, Samantha
      Communities located in the coastal zone are increasingly vulnerable to climate change. The effects of climate change may push coastal ecosystems to undergo irreversible changes. This is especially true for shorebirds as it results in the loss of biodiversity and resource-rich areas to rest, refuel and breed. To protect these species, it is critical to conduct more research related to nature-based solutions. Through a scoping review of scientific literature, this paper evaluated 85 articles and included a summary of various sustainable ecosystem-based adaptation strategies, including living shorelines and beach nourishment. These strategies were evaluated under the eight core principles of nature-based solutions in order to determine the efficiency of protecting shorebird biodiversity in the Greater Niagara Region. All adaptation strategies were examined through a social, economic and environmental lens and future improvements were suggested to increase the efficiency of these strategies. This research also highlights its contribution to sustainability science.
    • Can Farmer Networks Foster A Resilient Agriculture?

      Otung, Idorenyin
      This study aimed at determining the contribution of farmer networks (FNs) structure to resilience of agroecosystems. A total of 23 actors were surveyed using a census sampling method. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected using a mixed methods approach. Data were analyzed using social network analysis and a deductive codebook. Findings revealed a cohesive group with high density (0.67), good arc reciprocity (54%), high transitivity (0.75). The network is cohesive and centralized, but periphery actors were more connected externally. There was positive correlation between frequency of communication and decision to change production system. Network is specifically for diffusion, but 90% of actors also adopted BMPs through social interactions. This study concludes that FNs can help in scaling up adoption of BMPs. FNs contributes to a resilient agriculture based on resilience principles of connectivity, encourage learning and experimentation and broadening participation. This is encouraging for policy to invest in FNs for BMPs adoption.
    • Creating Sustainable Communities Through Environmental Sustainability Education: A Case Study of Transition Town Peterborough

      Jennings, Michaela
      This study contributes to literature and practical approaches to examining local organizations involved in environmental sustainability education, and the utilization of the cultural historical activity theory. Using a case study research design, the study examined a local organization located in Peterborough Ontario, called Transition Town Peterborough, to understand how environmental sustainability education, as well as informal learning addressed the organization’s goals. Transition Town is a non-governmental organization, with a focus on acting locally around climate change, peak oil, and localization. This report examined different materials available (website, community magazine, social media). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants from the organization to explore individual perspectives on the organization and how learning is implicitly or explicitly incorporated in the organization. The study concludes with a recommendation around learning and environmental sustainability education in the organization to target issues that they are facing, and the tensions between the themes of the CHAT framework.
    • Differential Vulnerability to Climate Change in the Niagara Region

      Faris, Abbey
      The Niagara Region is experiencing the impacts of climate change. While all residents of Niagara will be affected by the impacts of climate change, some social groups will experience greater impacts than others. This Major Research Paper (MRP) uses large-scale secondary survey data (n=1087) to examine differential vulnerabilities to climactic events in Niagara. Specifically, Kruskal-Wallis and Chi-square statistical analyses were used to determine whether the frequency and severity of extreme heat and household flooding varied across age groups and household income levels. Results show that breaking down the differential vulnerability across age and income groups generated insight into those most vulnerable to flooding and extreme heat. The findings from this research study highlight the impacts that climactic events are having on a local scale within the Niagara Region and which specific social groups are experiencing these extremes.
    • Environmental Racism: Proximity of Environmental Hazards and Benefits to Visible Minority Communities in Ontario, Canada

      Nettos, Mikellena
      Considering the global Black Lives Matter protests and the relatively limited academic research on environmental racism in Canada, this major research paper (MRP) explores the distribution of environmental racism in Ontario, Canada. Specifically, the research examines how environmental hazards (air pollution and landfills), and environmental benefits (parks and recreation) are distributed across visible minority and white communities in Hamilton and Niagara using ArcGIS Pro. The findings reaffirm that environmental racism exists in Ontario, Canada. For example, in communities with high percentages of visible minorities, parks tended to be less common and small, while particulate air pollution tended to be high. This research highlights the presence of environmental racism in Canada. Documenting and communicating the prevalence of environmental racism, and developing effective legislation for addressing environmental rights, are essential to funding lasting solutions for environmental racism in Canada.
    • Exploring Governance in Canadian Ramsar Sites to Ensure their Sustainability

      Baker, Jocelyn
      The Ramsar Convention came into effect in 1975, in response to global losses of wetland habitats and their ecological services. Canada joined the Convention in 1981. As essential elements of sustainability, this research examined the types of governance and management activities used in the 37 Canadian Ramsar sites. How ecosystem governance could further support environmental sustainability was also explored. Ramsar sites were assessed using sustainability indicators, looking at the Ramsar Convention 14 priority areas of focus such as presence of co-management structures, management plans, and monitoring programs under the three commitment criteria (wise use, management, cooperation). The results showed a large variation in terms of management plans, governance structures and reporting procedures with some sites, such as Old Crow Flats, having high sustainability scores while others, such as Southern James Bay, with low scores. Reasons for variation related to the lack of updated management plans and inadequate monitoring and reporting programs. Sustainability science provides linkages between ecological and social systems, underpinned by participatory and collaborative governance structures. Canadian Ramsar sites provide a living example of how social-ecological characteristics should be integrated to ensure sustainability.
    • The Forest and its Trees: A Critical Inquiry into the Use of Nature-based Solutions in Canada’s A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy Plan

      Esdale, Gavin
      Nature-based solutions (NbS) and natural climate solutions (NCS) have emerged as promising options to address the challenges of the global climate and biodiversity crises. However, confusion persists about the meaning and practical implications of these relatively new approaches in the public, private, and political spheres. This research paper explores how the Government of Canada conceptualizes NbS and NCS, first through a scoping review of literature regarding the conceptual definitions and limits of NbS and NCS, and then through a directed content analysis of their 2020 climate plan, titled A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy (HEHE). This research determines that the NbS and NCS concepts are frequently confused or treated as interchangeable by the Government of Canada to the detriment of the HEHE plan’s strategies. The implications of these findings are discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for improved design and deployment of NbS and NCS in Canada.
    • Influential Factors and Interventions to Increase Recycling Behaviours: A Program Evaluation of the Niagara Region’s Residential Curbside Recycling Program

      McFadden, Shelby
      Solid waste generation is continuing to increase both globally, and in our own municipalities here in Ontario, which is contributing to negative environmental impacts. Recycling is one effective way of diverting waste, but the recycling rates for many municipal recycling programs in Ontario, including the Niagara Region’s, are levelling off. The purpose of this study was to examine recycling as a pro-environmental behaviour, in order to better understand how recycling rates could be increased in the Niagara Region. A program evaluation was conducted to see if, and to what extent, the region used effective interventions to promote recycling from 2016 to 2021. Based on the content analysis of 128 materials produced by the region, it was ultimately found that the region’s program has been designed in a way that is likely to lead to limited effectiveness. Several recommendations for the Niagara Region, as well as for future recycling research are included.
    • Reviewing the Options for the Agricultural Sector to Adapt to Climate Change: Case Study of the Niagara Region, ON

      Garg, Pulkit
      The agricultural sector of the Niagara Region has experienced multiple impacts of climate change in recent years, which are projected to increase in the future. There is an urgent need to examine available adaptation strategies for Niagara’s agricultural sector, considering its vulnerability to a changing climate and significance for the Region’s economy and food production. Using a scoping review of scientific literature to analyze 4375 articles on two databases, this research has investigated four potential adaptation strategies - i.e. technology-based adaptation, ecosystem-based adaptation, community-based adaptation and policy-based adaptation - that can be used by the agricultural sector. All adaptation strategies were also examined through a social, economic and environmental lens using a SWOT Analysis. Through this statement, this research also highlights its contribution to sustainability science and sustainable development (SDG 2 – Food Security and SDG 13 – Climate Action) as one of the steps towards a more resilient future.
    • The role of sport in advancing environmental sustainability: A case study of community-level hockey facilities in Ontario, Canada

      Kelly, Nolan
      Environmental sustainability (ES) in sport represents an emerging area of research that is gaining popularity worldwide. While this is encouraging, the gap between sport and the environment needs to be further explored. This research aimed to address this by interviewing hockey facility managers to understand the barriers and enabling factors of ES, along with the role that community-level arenas play for ES in Ontario. Through qualitative interviews and coding, three themes emerged: 1) the importance of cost savings as a driver of ES decisions in these arena facilities; 2) the importance of political and financial support from the government in achieving ES in these arena facilities; and, 3) the important role community-level hockey facilities play in advancing ES in their communities. The results will assist in advancing ES in arena facilities at the community-level and propel sport closer to realizing the potential ES has to be a driver for change.
    • Sustainability Through Accessibility: Evaluating the Accessibility of Toronto’s Public Transportation

      Nicholas, Bruno
      Public transportation is one of the most sustainable transportation options in terms of greenhouse gasses emitted per rider due to the high capacity of transit vehicles. Resultantly the sustainability of public transportation is dependent on high levels of ridership. Increasing accessibility, particularly through affordability and proximity, may encourage public transit ridership. A document analysis was conducted on sustainability documents published by Metrolinx, and the Toronto Transit Commission to evaluate the degree to which these agencies reflect best practices for sustainable public transportation in these documents. Both affordability and proximity were measured on the basis of total instances and proportional document coverage. Results show that these themes were not prevalent in the documents. Specifically, accessibility was found to be prominent, but through the theme of corporate social responsibility rather than affordability or proximity. Thus, this MRP highlights the need to focus on these themes in future public transit sustainability strategies.
    • Sustainability-Related Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Communications in the Canadian Grocery Industry

      Harper, Erica
      As consumers become more socially and environmentally aware, organizations provide in-depth corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports, sustainability reports, and communicate about CSR on various social media channels. This study consists of an exploratory content analysis of sustainability-related CSR social media communications from Canada’s three largest grocery retailers, including Loblaw, Metro, and Sobeys. The purpose of this study is to determine the extent to which sustainable business practices are being discussed through social media postings. The findings demonstrate that the retailers include more content related to sustainable business practices on Instagram as compared to Facebook and LinkedIn. Additionally, the results demonstrate that two out of the three retailers within the study do not communicate their CSR initiatives in alignment with previous research that provides best practices for CSR communications. These results have valuable implications for grocery managers, public policy writers, and researchers.