Skip to main content
Workshops & seminars, Conferences & lectures

Issues in biodiversity and justice

Date & time
Thursday, March 16, 2023
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Brogan Stewart, Kyleisha Foote, Stephanie Eccles, and Nikolas Harrison


This event is free and open to the public (offered in person only)


Loyola Sustainability Research Centre & Loyola College for Diversity & Sustainability


Rebecca Tittler

Wheel chair accessible


Japanese macaques bathing Japanese macaques bathing

Join Concordia graduate students as they present and discuss their sustainability work.

Primates and disability: Implications for resilience to environmental change

Brogan Stewart, PhD candidate

Congenital malformations, injuries and illness can lead to long-term disabilities in nonhuman primates. The way that the individual primate changes their behaviour to compensate for their disabilities can tell us about their resilience and ability to adjust to environmental change. Here, we synthesize the literature on nonhuman primates and disability, addressing the questions: what do we know about how disability influences behaviour in nonhuman primates? What insights can we take from the nonhuman primate disability literature to better understand and predict the capacity of nonhuman primates to modify their behaviours in the face of human-induced environmental change? We conducted a systematic review of the literature on disability, physical impairment, and behaviour in wild and free-ranging primates. We review the use (and misuse) of the disability-related nomenclature within the field with suggestions for future research. We also examine the etiologies of the disabilities and whether they can be linked to human-induced environmental change. Disability gives us an opportunity to examine how primates can modify their behaviour when faced with challenging conditions and their potential resilience to a changing environment.

Hydro-geomorphological and habitat quality in salmonid streams in Ontario, Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand

Kyleisha Foote, PhD candidate  

Habitat degradation is one of the major reasons for freshwater species decline. Hydro-geomorphological processes (such as sediment transport, bank erosion, flooding) operate at the catchment scale and determine habitat features in river reaches. However, habitat quality indices and restoration for freshwater species are often implemented at small spatial scales. The Morphological Quality Index (MQI) considers fluvial processes at larger scales as well as channel forms, human impacts, and historical changes, but few studies have assessed its relevance for ecosystem health. We investigated the relationship between morphological quality and habitat quality (using the Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index QHEI) in several salmonid streams in New Zealand and Ontario. We found a significant correlation between the MQI and QHEI but establishing a strong correlation with fish metrics remains challenging. The MQI can nevertheless be a useful index for understanding ecosystem health at a larger scale.

“I can’t believe we have pipelines full of methane to contend with”: A critical energy justice framing of animal-sourced energy in North Carolina

Stephanie Eccles, PhD candidate

In 2018 Smithfield Foods Inc., the largest global pig producer launched ‘Smithfield Renewables’, a waste-to-energy project that is set to cover 90% of their finishing farms in North Carolina. The press release came one month after Hurricane Florence decimated the coastal state claiming the lives of nearly a hundred humans and millions of farmed animals, causing extensive pollution including leakage or entire breaches from over 50 manure lagoons and estimated to have resulted in 22 billion dollars in damages. ‘Smithfield Renewables’ is one of many climate change strategies Smithfield is employing to reduce corporate GHG by 25% by 2025 with the company-argued co-benefit of making farms more resilient to disasters. Unlike other corporate climate change strategies, the waste-to-energy projects are unique in that it necessitates further development of the vulnerable coastal landscape with the re-engineering and addition of lagoons, construction of pipelines and central-gas clean-up facilities to produce natural gas. Using the Critical Energy Justice (CEJ) framework developed by Finley-Brook et al., (2018) I look at the implications of the ‘infrastructuring’ of waste-to-energy projects in what are environmental justice communities. My analysis is informed by interviews with communities involved in the development of this project including community members, contract growers, government workers, and environmental activists. I investigate how the development of this ‘green energy’ further entrenches environmental injustice in these communities, poses unique challenges during disasters, and promotes the idea that large factory farms can be sustainable, and dubiously claimed as part of the climate solution.

Global capitalism and the Japanese welfare state: An institutional analysis of a loveless affair

Nikolas Harrison, PhD Student

This presentation explores the link between contemporary developments in the international political economy and Japanese corporate governance, and how these interact with the Japanese welfare state. It argues that the Japanese social system is failing to address the problems of labor flexibilization and the dissolution of lifetime employment, which have been a product of the neoliberalization of Japan, understood in this paper as an ongoing process and a product of U.S hegemony in the international sphere. The consequences of this complex process are explored, which is made possible by a thorough description of the contextual specificity of Japanese lifetime employment, and an explanation of the process of labor flexibilization in Japan.

This event is part of:

Research that matters

Back to top

© Concordia University