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Conferences & lectures

Issues in sustainability, justice, ethics, and disturbance

Part of the Hope and Agency in Uncertain Times conference

Date & time
Friday, March 15, 2024
9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Registration is closed


Jonathan Motte and Ariadna Modol Pereira, Brianna Leigh Losinger-Ross and Amélie Daoust-Boisvert, Noa Davidai, Emma Taniguchi, and Liam McMahon


This event is free and open to the public


Rebecca Tittler


Loyola Jesuit Hall and Conference Centre
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Room 110

Wheel chair accessible


This session features a series of student and faculty research presentations from various facets of sustainability.

Jonathan Motte and Ariadna Modol Pereira: Sustainability at Concordia: A cross-comparative university analysis

Based upon a review of sustainability efforts at other higher learning institutions in Canada, suggestions tailored to further Concordia's own sustainable commitments will be presented.

Ashley Spanier-Levasseur: Working at the intersection of community collaboration, education, and academia: An internship experience

Brianna Leigh Losinger-Ross & Amélie Daoust-Boisvert: Climate change attribution in the coverage of Canada’s 2023 forest fires: A look at how American and Canadian media made climate connections

This presentation explores how Canadian and American media covered the 2023 Canadian forest fires. We focused our research on the mentioning of and connection to climate change, examining how and if the media attributed climate change to the forest fires. Experts believe climate change will continue to increase the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, like forest fires. Thus, our results allow a better understanding of how the Canadian and American media make climate connections and report on extreme events.

Noa Davidai: Spongy moth densities in Quebec forests - predicting locations of low-density reservoirs

The invasive spongy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) is a periodic outbreaker responsible for severe defoliation of hardwood and softwood trees in North America. Understanding aspects of biotic and abiotic factors impacting the survival and population density of Ldd, across a geospatial gradient can provide insight into these outbreaks in its non-native habitat. Between periods of outbreak, Ldd moths maintain lower-density reservoir populations that do not cause as much notable damage to forests. These populations provide a source for future outbreaks but are discreet and challenging to identify. As part of my doctoral work, I explore factors, such as forest composition and historical Ldd densities, that may help predict the locations of low-density populations, in-between outbreaks. I surveyed sites across Quebec in 2023 and hypothesize that there will be: a higher density of Ldd in forest patches with a lower proportion of oak trees; and a lower density of Ldd in historically severe outbreak locations. The ability to identify these variables could facilitate forest management and control practices that may head off an oncoming outbreak.

Emma Taniguchi: Green space distribution in the CMM: Investigating the degree of equitable distribution of environmental goods across Laval and the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal

As the world’s population continues to grow at unprecedented rates, many cities and neighbourhoods are experiencing high rates of urbanization. In an effort to accommodate the people moving into metropolitan centres, infringing onto urban greenspaces is a common avenue employed to build more housing. However, many studies show that spending time outdoors, specifically in green environments, has a myriad of mental and physical health benefits. Due to this, urban greenspace is classified as an environmental “good,” and its scarcity means that certain groups receive less access to it if they are in a minority social standing (i.e., racial minority, low-income, etc.). Since the relatively recent amalgamation of Montreal into 5 distinct geographic sectors, investigation into how this may have impacted Laval makes for an interesting case study. To do this, spatial tools (ArcGIS Pro and GeoDa) were used to examine the relationship between total vegetation (NDVI extracted from LiDAR data) and overall marginalization (adapted from the Canadian Marginalization Index). A large portion of the methodology focused on determining what method of analysis was best suited to the represent the data, and thus many spatial and non-spatial tests were conducted, including an OLS regression, a GWR, a hotspot analysis, and a Moran’s I spatial autocorrelation test. Through trial and error, eight distinct zones showing high-marginalization, low-vegetation clusters were located across the Laval peninsula. Investigating further into the driving forces behind these trends, there were very few designated greenspaces within them and many had very little canopy cover offered by street trees. Interestingly, a common theme was the large number of vacant lots in these regions that could potentially be reworked into parks or greenspaces. As Laval continues to expand, it is important to be constantly aware of inequity that may be growing as access to environmental services becomes increasingly limited with a growing population.

Liam McMahon: "The animals actually wanted to die": Effacing animal agency in the academy

This talk will examine the issue of animal agency as it is treated in the field of critical animal studies and critical animal pedagogies. The focus will be on the fundamental repression across most university disciplines, underlying academic discourses, that despite contemporary understandings coming out of cognitive ethology, there are politico-ontological reasons for maintaining various levels of violence (particularly 'epistemic violence' in the case of higher education) against animals, whereby hierarchical anthropocentrism is entrenched through the recoding of violence as 'peace'. Following a Derridean reading of humanism and animality, I argue for the necessity of taking animal agency and resistance seriously, given how such a turn can deconstruct symbolic economies of sacrifice (the "non-criminal-putting-to-death") at the foundation of our social and political relations (not only with non-human life). 

This event is part of:

Hope and agency in uncertain times

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