Developing a McGill Campus Sustainability Report Card

(Prof. Garry Peterson, formerly with McGill School of Environment)


The Full Value of Environmental Services: Non-Market Valuations

(Prof. Brian Leung, McGill School of Environment & Department of Biology)

This research examines the non-market effects of mussel aquaculture in Prince Edward Island (PEI) to provide the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) an unbiased and balanced view on where future efforts regarding mussel aquaculture policy and assessment should be directed. This has emerged as a timely question, as some of the effects of this economically important industry are contested among stakeholders (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2006).

Three basic research questions were developed to guide fundamental data methods and recommendations: 1) who are the stakeholders in PEI’s aquaculture industry and what aspects and consequences (perceived or real) of that industry do they care about, 2) what are the actual biological and social consequences of aquaculture in general, and 3) where are we able to find evidence of these consequences within PEI and how can we quantify the extent to which people care about these consequences?

Developing a Sustainable Medical Clinic in Kibale National Park (Uganda)

(Prof. Colin Chapman, McGill School of Environment & Department of Anthropology)

The central aim of the Kibale Health and Conservation Project (KHCP) is to work with stakeholders to improve health and accessibility to health resources for the community surrounding the Kanyawara gate of Kibale National Park, Uganda. As an extension, it is hoped that the project will facilitate positive interactions between the park and people in the local community.

Addressing Hot Spots in Cool Cities: Montreal & Climate Change

(Prof. Fréderic Fabry, McGill School of Environment & Departmetn of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences)

The phenomenon of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) is characterized by a difference in the temperature of an urban area compared to the surrounding rural area. The UHI effect has been observed to be the cause of elevated urban temperatures, which have been found to cause ecological disturbances, smog and increased energy consumption. There is also a link between elevated urban temperatures and detrimental human health effects, including respiratory problems, heat stroke and under extreme circumstances, even death.

The UHI effect is caused by a shift in the balance of radiative forces in the urban environment resulting in an elevated heat flux (measured in W/m2). The known causes of this increased heat flux can be broken down into three components which are related to the geometrical structure of the built environment, land cover and building material characteristics, and human activity in the urban area. This project concentrates on quantifying the magnitude of the heat flux from human activity, also called the anthropogenic heat flux.

The project aims to analyse the relative importance of a variety of anthropogenic heat flux contributors on Montreal’s UHI, with the goal of assessing the adequacy of the city of Montreal’s present mitigation strategies, put forward in the city’s 2007-2009 Sustainable Development Plan. The three anthropogenic sources analysed for this project were the heat released by transportation, human metabolism, and air conditioning. These sources were quantified as approximate average heat flux’s over four sample neighbourhoods under summertime conditions (June – September).

Ecological Services in Hainan Province, China

(Prof. Raja Sengupta, McGill School of Environment & Departmetn of Geography)


The Diffusion of Rachel Carson's Ideas

(Prof. Bruce Case, Associate Member, McGill School of Environment & Department of Pathology)

Silent Spring (1962), perhaps Rachel Carson’s most recognized work, is viewed as the impetus of change that launched the environmental movement and as such has overshadowed the bulk of Carson’s remaining work. Since Carson never explicitly stated her environmental ethic, this paper attempts to define it through an analysis of her published books as a whole. Following this definition of Carson’s ethic, changes in US pesticide use and regulation were mapped from the early 1960’s until present. Further to this, a media analysis was performed across three major American newspapers spanning the years 1940 to 2006. Five decades following the publication of Carson’s most famous work, Silent Spring, the author’s words can still be seen as important and enlightening, and the genesis of an ethic that still speaks to the population of today.

Community Parks in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue

(Mr. George McCourt, McGill School of Environment)

Cities across the island of Montreal are increasingly challenged to create, maintain and improve their parks’ systems in ways that benefit environment, economy and health both physically and psychologically. This research is a first initiative on how the city of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, located on the western tip of the Island, might improve their park system. The main focus of their Environmental Committee lies in developing environmental services and increasing community involvement by matching the parks to the needs of its residents. These goals fit into the city’s future vision of a “sustainable Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue”. Students from the McGill School of Environment (MSE) were invited to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the issue and ultimately offer research-based recommendations on what direction the city should take to meet its goals.

Sustainable Food Production and the Macdonald Campus Farm

(Mr. George McCourt, McGill School of Environment)

Sustainable agriculture is a rare phenomenon these days as most small farms are competing with a monopoly of farms that concentrate their production to maximize profits which in turn consumes large amounts of energy, fertilizers, pesticides and water. In particular, hog farming has become excessively unsustainable. From the unbearable conditions imposed upon the hogs themselves, to the public health issues arising in communities living by an intensive hog farming production, to the overuse of antibiotics leading to bacterial resistance and human disease, unsustainable hog farming carries considerable risks.

Facing a number of environmental issues, Phil Lavoie, manager of the Macdonald Farm, wanted to make the farm more sustainable. Based on this, the project aimed to address the issue of sustainability at the Macdonald Farm. More specifically, our goal was to assess energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, we narrowed our scope to examine in particular the swine facility of the Macdonald Farm.

L’adoption d’une perspective environnementale dans la restauration: le cycle de vie appliqué aux Rotisseries St-Hubert

(Mr. George McCourt, McGill School of Environment)

When a prominent business considers going green, such as St.Hubert, there exists a multitude of possible areas to emend, one of the most apparent options for the restaurant business being packaging. Packaging and disposable dishware represent a substantial 20% of waste produced by the restaurant business. The environmental implications of packaging and disposable dishes used in the food industry are not inconsequential. Toxic gases released during production and during their degradation in landfills significantly affect both air and water quality, and in effect exacerbate critical problems such as climate change.

Adopting environmentally sound packaging not only ameliorates the environmental issue at hand but also satiates the demands of St-Hubert customers for more environmentally-friendly practices. Moreover, it alleviates impending costs related to Bill 102, which places a price on waste produced by businesses according to the quantity produced. In effect, decisions made by St-Hubert to green their packaging will inevitably attract a growing environmentally conscience clientele and enhance their image as responsible and socially conscience leaders.

The general objective of the analysis is to recommend a holistic approach serving as a selection tool that can guide the choices made by St-Hubert for the purchase of products and for the implementation of new business policies. More specifically, the significance of the life cycle analysis (LCA) approach in the choice of a product will be shown through the study of the disposable dishware and packaging currently used, and several alternatives to these will be presented through the use of the LCA approach.

Biological Inventory for Conservation Planning in Sutton Mountains of Quebec

(Prof. Sylvie de Blois, McGill School of Environment & Department of Plant Science)