Complex Environmental Problems Case Studies

The case studies below are written by students investigating complex environmental problems.

Biodiversity

Canadian Seal Hunt

January 18, 2016

Authors: Yu Chen, Xige Li, Shuchen Liu, Shiyao Xu Created: 2015 Introduction The seal hunt in Canada is a serious environmental issue that draws a lot of public and media attention.  The process involves immense violence, has questionable reasoning, methods and regulations, and is performed on a large scale.  Currently, Canada is accountable for the majority  of commercial sealing in the […]

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Energy

Hydraulic Fracturing in Wyoming: Benefits, Concerns, & Solutions

January 18, 2016

Authors: Ella Canning, Alex Coster, Davison Donnelly, Josh Sullivan-Phillips Created: 2015 Introduction Hydraulic fracking has become an increasingly popular method of natural gas extraction in the United States. The United States has extensive reserves of natural gas that can be used for commercial purposes. Large quantities of groundwater and surface water mixed with chemical additives are pressurized and […]

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Biodiversity

Wolves in Yellowstone National Park

January 18, 2016

Authors: Kiera Crowe-­Pettersson, Cole Larsen, Paul Lee, Kade Philps Created: 2015 Introduction Yellowstone National Park is a federal park in the United States that covers portions of Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Wolves were eradicated from the park in the early 1900s; decades later they received protection under the Endangered Species Act and were subsequently reintroduced to […]

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OceansWater

The Poop Scoop: Victoria’s Sewage Problem

January 18, 2016

Authors: Betsy Robertson, David Waine, Elizabeth Young Created: 2015 Introduction Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is currently working through a wicked problem involving their sewage system which has been dumping raw sewage into the waters off the coast of Victoria for over 100 years. There are three outfall pipes discharging preliminary treated sewage into the ocean (Berman, […]

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Energy

Energy Exploitation in Canada’s Arctic: Solutions to a Wicked Problem

January 18, 2016

Authors: Emily Doan, Grace Nychka, Marina Melanidis, Moriah Tanguay Created: 2015 Introduction With high global rates of consumption, oil production has plateaued (Kerr, 2011). As the globe is combed for the last reservoirs, corporations and nations are all trying to get in on the action to extract the resources we are using at an alarming rate. An estimated 178 […]

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Biodiversity

Urban Wildlife in Vancouver

January 18, 2016

Authors: Dominique Bulmer, Keira Glaeser, Emily Grayston, and Juliana Kaufmanis Created: 2015 Introduction The increasing flux of people to Vancouver is putting immense pressure on wildlife with increasing densification and expansion outwards into natural spaces. There are two central dimensions to this issue, namely human-wildlife interactions and biodiversity ecosystem services. In a good exemplification of human-wildlife […]

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OceansWater

Algal Blooms In The Great Lakes: Consequences, Governance And Solutions

January 18, 2016

Authors: Hailey Horachek, Sima Nuri, Nate Ollis, and Haruko Kuwahata Created: 2015 Introduction The Great Lakes, located on the Canada-United States border [Figure 1], are an important resource to the culture and economy of their surrounding area, providing drinking water, recreational activities, and tourism. They are also home to a wide range of wildlife, including migratory and […]

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Energy

Case Study: Northern Gateway Pipeline

January 18, 2016

Authors: Angela Chia, Tiago de Souza Jensen, Jackson O’Neill, Junjie Zhan Created: 2015 Introduction The Northern Gateway Pipeline is a project proposed by Enbridge Inc. to build twin pipelines that will transfer natural gas condensate from British Columbia to Alberta in order to export diluted bitumen to the west and access international waters through the marine terminal in […]

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Energy

Oil Exploration In The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge

January 18, 2016

Author: Annie Fang Created: 2015 Introduction The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), is one of the last and largest untouched regions on earth, home to many wildlife species and the largest potential of untapped reserves of oil in the United States. ANWR is located in northeastern Alaska, and was created under the 1980 Alaska National […]

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Energy

DAM IT! The Site C Dam on the Peace River

January 18, 2016

Authors: Bradley Jeffery, Pierre-Hugo Lecomte, Sophie Le Noble, Tea Jay Macalanda-Ung Created: 2015 Introduction and Framing the Problem The creation of Site C dam along the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia will be the biggest hydroelectric power project the Province has seen in the last 30 years. It would provide electricity to 450,000 homes annually in British Columbia […]

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Fisheries

Bloody Waters: Shark, ecosystems and tourism in coastal North America

January 18, 2016

Authors: Caroline Ramsay, Marco Sanelli, Nick Penner, Sophia Wellauer Created: 2015 Introduction Sharks are consistently vilified as a dangerous threat around the world, but the global scale of the cruel practice of shark finning makes it seem more appropriate to call sharks the threatened. With the shark fin being by far the most valuable part of the shark body, […]

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Energy

CAPE WIND: The Collapse of the United States’ Inaugural Offshore Wind Farm Project

January 18, 2016

Authors: Makoto Ejima, Joe Gaskin, Parkin Maskulrath, Karanveer Singh Created: 2015 Introduction & Framing the Problem The Cape Wind project is located on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, United States. The Project was proposed by Energy Management Inc. where it became a part of the United States offshore wind power development with […]

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Biodiversity

It’s In My Genes: GMOs, Biodiversity and Farming in Saskatchewan

January 18, 2016

Authors: Rachel Green, Jessica Landing, William Ou, Cathy Sze Created: 2015 Introduction Humans have tinkered with plants for centuries, with selective breeding being one of the most important developments to take place in the past 13,000 years (Diamond, 2002). More recently, with the dawn of the Green Revolution, this process has been sped up by the advances of biotechnology, […]

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Water

A Drying Shame: The Ogallala Aquifer

January 18, 2016

Authors: Audrey Chow, Emerpreet (Amy) Khosa, Anchen Ko Created: 2015 Introduction Covering an area of 174,000 square miles, the Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest aquifers of the United States of America (APEC Human Resource Development Working Group). Situated under the Great Plains of North America, the water from the Ogallala Aquifer was first extracted for use […]

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Water

The case of Mexico DF: A sinking city

January 18, 2016

Authors: Rachael Stronach, Weiting Jia, Nathaly Uribe, Kasper Richter Created: 2015 Introduction Mexico City is sinking. In the last hundred years it has sunk more than 10 meters (Sample, 2004). This poses a grave problem for the megacity and its 21.1 million inhabitants, most of whom are bereft of vital infrastructure such as water. Unplanned urban growth […]

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Biodiversity

All Hail the King: Monarch butterflies in Mexico – Canada Migration

January 18, 2016

Authors: Linnea Harder, Luke Hancock, Robert Jacobson, Wasin Chalanuchpong Created: 2015 Introduction Monarch butterfly populations have significantly decreased, threatening the stability of the species. Monarch butterflies make the multi-generational migration south towards Mexico from eastern U.S. and southern Canada, and reach central Mexico beginning early November. Genetically modified crops, specifically transgenic corn pollen, have a negative effect […]

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BiodiversityForest

Biodiversity and Old Growth in the Great Bear Rainforest

January 18, 2016

Authors: Adam Mertens, Diyang Zhang, Liang Qi, Jiadong Ye, Zoltan Mityok Created: 2015 Introduction Located on British Columbia’s central and north coast, the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) comprises one quarter of the world’s remaining ancient coastal temperate rainforest, which is of significant ecological importance both regionally and globally (36). The majority of forest types are old growth […]

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FisheriesFisheries

Something is Fishy: Salmon Farming on the B.C. Coast

January 18, 2016

Authors: Benji Airdrie, Daniel McFaul, Hannah Thompson, Marina Tischenko Created: 2015 Introduction Salmon farming in British Columbia (BC) is a wicked problem as it is dynamic, unique to the coast and has multiple stakeholders with cultural, economic, and environmental interests. BC salmon farming was first established in the 1970’s and with tremendous growth, has evolved into an important industry […]

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Fisheries

In Cod we Trust: Cod in Atlantic Canada

January 18, 2016

Authors: Ben Watkins, Alexandre Schoch, Michael Webb, Timothy Wong Created: 2015 Introduction When examining the issues of cod in the Atlantic we are instantly reminded of the Tragedy of The Commons. The first accounts of cod off the Atlantic Coast of Canada is one of complete abundance, however the reality today is very different. As often happens with an […]

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FisheriesWater

Water Resources Management in Sonoma County, California

January 18, 2016

Authors: Glenn Mendonsa, Arthur Denefle, Jack Edgar, Ziyao Zhu Created: 2015 Introduction By: Caroline/Ziyao Zhu ​In 2015, California encountered a serious problem with a continuous four-year drought. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the level of snowpacks are lower than any year since 1950. Sonoma has several significant reservoirs:, Roberts Lake, Santa Rosa Creek […]

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BiodiversityFisheriesOceans

A Whale of a Tale: Marine Mammals in Captivity and the Vancouver Aquarium

January 18, 2016

Authors: Theresa Barao, Tim Cho, Hannah Griffiths and Adam Isman Created: 2015 Introduction Holding animals captive has been a common practice since the beginning of the anthropocentric era. Whether this practice has been for human enjoyment, education, or for other reasons, the fact remains that most animal species in existence today are being held captive somewhere […]

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PollutionWater

Pollution in the St. Lawrence River

January 18, 2016

Authors: Josh Neufeld, Samuel King, Philippe Roberge Created: 2015 Introduction The St.Lawrence River is an integral part of North American society. The river acts as an important waterway for fishing, shipping and receiving, and for the manufacturing industry situated on or near the river shoreline. It also houses agriculture and urban populations as well as indigenous […]

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Forest

Logging of Algonquin Provincial Park

January 18, 2016

Authors: Sayna Sadeghi, Amanda Bulmer, Kiana Bridges, Mengjia Ding Created: 2015 Introduction Algonquin Park, Ontario’s oldest Provincial Park, is located in central Ontario. Established in 1893, Algonquin Provincial Park is a popular site for an abundance of outdoor activities and biodiversity (Wilson, 2014). The total area of the park is 7,635 km2.  The park is a source […]

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EnergyPollution

It’s Getting Hot in Here: Heating New York City

December 14, 2015

Authors: Amy Shaw, Erin Grace, Zahra Hussain, Kaymi Yoon-Maxwell Created: 2015 Introduction As a city of over 9 million citizens, New York City (NYC) is no stranger to wicked problems; with the issue of heating being no exception. The following document will address the interconnected factors that contribute to the complexity of this issue. Until 2010, most of […]

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