Tag Archives: environmental policy

  • Big Ideas for a Stronger, Cleaner Economy

    Written by the Smart Prosperity Institute on the release of the special November issue of Canadian Public Policy, which you can access here for free!

    bloggy banner 2We are excited to be guest editors for the new special issue of Canadian Public Policy Journal (CPP) - “Big Ideas for Sustainable Prosperity: Policy Innovation for Greening Growth.”

    Recognizing that Canada needs to accelerate its shift to a cleaner and more sustainable economy, we brought together a group of prominent environment and economy experts for a two-day conference at the University of Ottawa, and we asked them to share their “big ideas” on driving Canada’s green growth transition. In collaboration with Canadian Public Policy Journal, we are releasing a special issue that captures the ideas and discussion coming out from that conference.

    The authors wrote the papers featured in this special issue specifically as big think pieces to help spur new ideas and research questions — and as such they do not conform to typical academic articles. Rather than focusing on presenting new research (although this could help inform their arguments), we asked them to identify policy challenges or changes needed to drive greener growth, as well as point to key research questions that might help inform these changes.

    The release of this special issue comes just as we’ve changed our name from Sustainable Prosperity to Smart Prosperity Institute – and it could not come at a better time. The ten papers presented in this issue reflect some of the “big ideas” that have shaped our new and expanded mandate. This journal release represents a turning point for our organization. The articles both capture what we’ve learned during the past eight years – such as the important role that market-based instruments can play in creating price signals – as well as frames a number of new policy horizons, including accelerating clean innovation and promoting the accurate valuation of natural capital.

    As you explore the “big ideas” proposed by some of Canada’s leading thinkers on the environment and the economy, you will get a sense of some of the exciting and timely directions that Smart Prosperity Institute will go in the coming months and years.

    We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to all authors and reviewers, as well as the Canadian Public Policy Journal team for making this special issue a reality.

    We also gratefully acknowledge financial support for this special issue by Natural Resources Canada and the University of Ottawa, as well as core support for the Sustainable Prosperity Research and Policy Network from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Environment.

    Click here to access videos and presentations from the Big Ideas conference, and follow the Smart Prosperity Institute on Twitter @SP_Inst!

    This piece was originally posted on the Smart Prosperity Institute blog.

  • The Canadian Environment in Political Context

    To mark the publication of The Canadian Environment in Political Context, the author, Andrea Olive, provides an overview of the book’s contents in addition to reflecting on why she decided to write the book and how its approach will benefit students.

    Canadian Environment in Political Context_FINALThe Canadian Environment in Political Context is a direct outcome of my own cross-border and cross-discipline background. I grew up in Saskatchewan and moved to Alberta and then Nova Scotia for university. After that, I hopped across the border to Washington DC to work for a lobby group in higher education. From there it was a quick jump to Indiana for my PhD. While all my academic degrees are in the discipline of political science, my research tends to cross over into geography, environmental studies, Indigenous studies, and public law. I started my academic career at the University of Michigan-Dearborn where I taught American environmental policy and researched endangered species conservation and Arctic issues. In 2012, I returned home to Canada and took a position at the University of Toronto where I am officially cross-appointed between the departments of political science and geography. I now teach Canadian environmental policy. Since the Canadian political system is so different from the US system, I have had to reorient myself in order to understand the environment inside a parliamentary democracy.

    This book is based on my experience of teaching environmental policy in a political science department for the past six years. What I have come to realize is that you cannot understand environmental policy until you understand federalism. This is truer in Canada than the US since sub-national jurisdictions in Canada (the provinces and to some extent the territories) have enormous power in natural resource development and property regulations. You also cannot fully grasp environmental policy without knowledge of Indigenous politics (in the North but also across the country) and recent Supreme Court decisions. Canadian politics is fascinating. Even more so, putting Canadian environmental policy into its political context is both enthralling and necessary.

    The book is organized into twelve chapters that in many respects reflect twelve different lectures or modules in my undergraduate course. But more than just lectures, the chapters should reflect the thousands of conversations that I have had with students, colleagues, and policy makers in recent years.

    The book begins with an overview of Canada’s environmental track record from coast to coast to coast. The next two chapters present a broad outline of the Canadian political system and policy process. The fourth chapter is a sweeping history of environmentalism in Canada, focusing on the “waves” in the twentieth century, and then the inertia under the most recent Conservative government. Chapters five through eight are issue focused: endangered species, water, land, and energy. Understanding the role of the federal government and the provinces is the key focus, but attention is also given to the role of cities, non-governmental organizations, and citizens in each issue-area. Aboriginal politics is the topic of chapter nine and provides the reader with an introduction to Indigenous peoples in Canada as well as a history of aboriginal law and environmental policy across the country. This flows nicely into chapter ten, which focuses on the North and Far North where First Nations and Inuit play a large role in natural resource management and environmental policy making (and implementation). However, the chapter also focuses on energy politics and international governance via the Arctic Council. Chapter eleven places the Canadian environment into a global context, and explains the country’s role in international agreements on environmental issues like biodiversity, hazardous chemicals, and climate change. Finally, the concluding chapter provides both a summary of the book’s main points as well as a forward-looking account of Canada in the twenty-first century. Ultimately hopeful, the book posits that the best environmental policies lie ahead.

    The obvious intention of the book is to help undergraduate students understand how the Canadian political system, namely federalism, shapes environmental policy and law in the country. However, the book should also engage readers and inspire deeper exploration into the concepts and issues discussed in the twelve chapters. American readers will be able to draw contrasts to their own political system in which federalism is organized differently and, consequently, plays into environmental policy differently. Since Canada and the US are so deeply intertwined from both an economic and an environmental standpoint, the book covers many topics that can best be understood in a North American context. Similarly, other international readers should hopefully be able to understand why Canada makes environmental policy (or fails to make policy) the way it does. Ultimately, I hope all readers finish the book with a new appreciation of the Canadian environment and a desire to change the way they think and act toward a variety of environmental issues.

    Andrea Olive is Assistant Professor of Political science and Geography at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Her most recent book is Land, Stewardship, and Legitimacy: Endangered Species Policy in Canada and the United States.

  • "A compelling expose of the environmental challenges of our time."

    Next week, UTP’s Higher Education Division will publish Global Ecopolitics: Crisis, Governance, and Justice by Peter J. Stoett. This is a unique book with a unique cover that deserves special recognition. In addition to the startling photograph of water pollution on the cover, we have chosen to print both the interior of the book and the cover on 100% recycled, chlorine-free, bio-gas fuelled, non-laminated paper.

    Despite sporadic news coverage of extreme weather, international conventions on climate change, or special UN days of celebration, rarely do we participate in a sustained presentation and analysis of environmental policy making. To remedy this shortcoming and to propel the discussion forward, Global Ecopolitics provides an introduction to environmental governance and the major environmental issues international governance has attempted to address.

    Through case studies on biodiversity, deforestation, air and water pollution, trade, and war, Professor Stoett analyzes the effectiveness of international policy in providing environmental protection and discusses the ever-present factors of equality, sovereignty, and human rights integral to these issues. Throughout, Professor Stoett reminds readers that the topic is personal, that effective governance is not solely the responsibility of governments but of individuals and communities as well. With concessions that environmental diplomacy may not always achieve its intended goals, Global Ecopolitics highlights where international policies have succeeded. And throughout, Professor Stoett builds a compelling argument that true change will only happen when angst is replaced with an educated determination to work toward environmental justice, and there is no better time for such a shift than now.

    According to Radoslav S. Dimitrov at the University of Western Ontario, Global Ecopolitics is "perhaps the most inspiring book on environmental politics of the last decade." In another early endorsement, Maria Ivanova, Assistant Professor of Global Governance and Co-Director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Boston, calls Global Ecopolitics "a compelling exposé of the environmental challenges of our time."

    This January, Peter J. Stoett travelled to Washington, D.C. for a four month research position at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Professor Stoett is working on a project titled “Transborder Counter-Bioinvasion: Canada-US Policy Networks on Invasive Alien Species.”

    For more on Professor Stoett’s Fulbright position see www.concordia.ca/now/university-affairs/accolades/20110927/professor-receives-prestigious-fulbright-chair.php.

    Note: If you are scheduled to teach a course that would benefit from having this book on the required reading list, please email requests@utphighereducation.com to request an examination copy. We would be more than happy to give you the opportunity to review this excellent text for yourself!

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