2020-2021 TSE Seminar Series
Hold the (road) salt! Understanding and mitigating chloride pollution in Ontario watersheds
Friday, March 5, 2021 with Dr Claire Oswald
The application of road salt to impervious surfaces to maintain road safety results in long-term increasing chloride concentrations in streams, lakes, and groundwater aquifers, placing aquatic ecosystems at risk. In Canada, the environmental risk management strategy for road salt focuses on best practices for storage, spreading, and snow disposal, but does not apply to private properties. In addition, organizations that manage road salt are responsible for identifying salt vulnerable areas (areas of the environment that may be particularly sensitive to road salts). To date, only watershed-scale correlative models relating stream chloride concentrations to average landscape and flow characteristics have been used to identify salt vulnerable areas. In this talk, I will discuss research examining the influence of landscape characteristics and stormwater management on stream chloride patterns at a management-relevant scale. I will also discuss results of two applied research projects focused on quantifying the environmental benefits of novel winter maintenance best practices and their significance for broad-scale mitigation of road salt application on private properties.
How do they do it? Trent Environmental Wind Tunnel Edition
Friday, February 12, 2021
Presenters: Prof. Cheryl McKenna Neuman and Patrick O'Brien (Postdoc)
A fun talk about some of the research projects/ deliverables/ findings associated with work in the TEWT lab over the last few years.
There was an on-site demonstration to explain what saltation is and why it matters in geophysical systems.
The re-greening of the Sudbury landscape and landscape carbon accumulation following reductions in smelter emissions
Friday, December 4, 2020
After the talk we celebrated TSE Student Awards!!
Sudbury, Ontario represents one of the largest and longest-running global metal and smelting centres. There are large legacies of environmental impacts primarily from astronomical historical rates of sulfur dioxide emissions as well as from metal pollution deposition and local-scale management and storage of mine and milling wastes. However, beginning in the 1970s Sudbury began on a trajectory towards massively-reduced atmospheric emissions and a large-scale collaborative land and water reclamation program. In this presentation I give an overview of the "Sudbury Story" followed by information on a large, multi-disciplinary project (including Trent University faculty and students) underway aiming to understand progress and ongoing constraints on restoring ecosystem services (including landscape carbon storage and biodiversity). The presentation touches on work in upland, wetland, lake, and brownfield environments, as well as land-water linkages in a landscape rehabilitation context.
Nathan Basiliko is a professor in the Department of Biology and the Vale Living with Lakes Centre at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. His group studies how forest and wetland soil biota respond to resource management, climate change, and other stressors in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence (northern temperate), boreal, and subarctic regions, and more recently they have focused in mining and sediment environments as well. He completed a BSc in Natural Resources from Cornell University (USA), PhD in Geography at McGill University, and worked as a post-doctoral fellow in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. He was a faculty member in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto prior to joining Laurentian to take a Canada Research Chair and faculty position in 2013. He is the current President of the Canadian Society of Soil Science.
Minerals for carbon sequestration in agricultural soils
Friday, November 6, 2020
Dr. Emily Chiang is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph, and a registered Professional Engineer of Ontario. She holds B.A.Sc. and M.A.Sc. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from the University of Toronto, and Ph.D. degree in Bioscience Engineering from the KU Leuven (Belgium).
Dr. Rafael Santos is Assistant Professor in Environmental Engineering at the University of Guelph, and is a registered Professional Engineer of Ontario. Dr. Santos obtained B.A.Sc. (Hons) and M.A.Sc. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto (Canada), and a Ph.D. (s.c.l.) degree in Chemical Engineering from the KU Leuven (Belgium).
Making Carbon Count: A History of Footprinting and Feeling About Carbon
Friday October 2, 2020
Climate action is often frustrated by the invisibility of greenhouse gases. In order to address the problem politically, it is frequently assumed, we must first measure, represent, and take ownership of our personal or collective emissions. Yet, these processes of calculation are themselves a site of politics; how carbon is counted affects the social possibilities of data.
This lecture discusses the stakes of such metrics by contrasting two rival forms of climate communication: ecological footprinting and carbon footprinting. Ecological footprinting was developed at UBC in the 1990s in order to evaluate comparative environmental resource costs through the common metric of hectares of land. Given the fixed quantity of land on the planet, the system sought to model and insist on interconnected limits to growth and obligations of transnational equity in trade and waste. Carbon footprinting, by contrast, parses matter only in terms of tons emitted into a placeless sky. Its ascent into popular and scientific practice was won through a combination of significant marketing efforts by BP—the second largest non-state fossil fuel company in the world—and targeted attacks on the ecological footprint concept by The Breakthrough Institute—an American thinktank with a radically different vision for environmentalism in the 21st century.
This history reveals how the science and politics of carbon intersect both within given systems and in the adoption of some systems over others. It also highlights how racial and national disparities, and the difficult emotions they stir up, are made to surface or disappear from in everyday metrics.
Anne Pasek is an Assistant Professor at Trent University cross-appointed between the Department of Cultural Studies and the Trent School of the Environment. Anne researches how people communicate about the social challenges and material complexities of global warming, particular as they concern the carbon cycle. She is also interested in the prospects of low carbon research methods across the social sciences and humanities. She teaches courses in the TSE and Department of Cultural Studies on environmental media, digital culture, and the politics of climate change.