A crack in the green: when ecosystem services become drivers of inequality in cities

Guest post by Marylouisse Feliciano, recent MEnvSc Graduate from the University of Toronto-ScarboroughCan health-related ecosystem services actually increase health inequality? What does the uneven distribution and varying quality of urban green spaces say about social justice in urban environments? Not all park spaces and green spaces are created equal. As urbanization marches forward, steps have to be taken to address inequalities and prevent this pattern from continuing.  Health, urbanization, and parks: what we know             Nature…

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Bright Goes North

Guest post by Kate Davies, a recent MEnvSc Graduate from the University of Toronto-ScarboroughShe could feel the pull in her body. It was time. She had done this journey before, but even the first time it felt familiar. Like a memory that she was born with. She was called Bright because she was known by the others for her deeply golden tail feathers and her clear eyes. Bright was late leaving her winter home this…

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Targeting Biodiversity Conservation: A Post-2020 World

Guest post by Connor Kendall, recent MEnvSc graduate from the University of Toronto-ScarboroughThe world is currently in the midst of the sixth mass extinction where global vertebrate populations have declined by 60% over the past 40 years and human pressures are impacting a vast 75% of the Earth’s surface1. If we continue along the path of business-as-usual, we will have a lot more to be concerned about than just living underwater in the next 30…

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Southern Ontario’s Ecoregions in Slow Motion: An Eight-Year Journey Along the Bruce Trail

Guest post by Daniel Stuart, MEnvSc Candidate in the Department of Physical & Environmental Science at the University of Toronto-Scarborough During the final year of my undergraduate program the idea of hiking all 900-or-so kilometres of the Bruce Trail somehow lodged itself in my head. It was 2010 and I was twenty-one years old, immersed in the idealism of that age and on the doorstep of a career as an ecologist. At the time hiking…

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Politics and the biodiversity crisis: a call for scientists to be politically engaged

I am a politics junkie. I am genuinely fascinated by politics and political systems, despite their irrational and often ineffective nature. Yet the world is awash with existential crises and solving them (or at least reducing the worst of their impacts) must come from the political systems that exist. So the question for biodiversity scientists is, how politically engaged do we need to be and how do we affect policy change regardless of the political…

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Re-imagining the purpose of conferences in a time of isolation

It is now trite to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of routine life, from our personal to our professional realities. Every part of academic life has been touched by the pandemic, reducing all aspects of our research endeavours to virtual platforms, from coursework and student mentoring to faculty meetings and conferences.  Zooming in and out of meetings has become the norm for all of us. While there are obvious restrictions to…

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Reclaiming contaminated land through manipulating biodiversity

Contents of this post originally appeared on the Applied Ecologist, but with expanded thoughts here. Five years ago I spent my sabbatical in China and worked closely with a lab in Guangzhou. While there, I built meaningful collaborations and friendships that have continued to advance the science I'm involved with. While in China, I accompanied my friend, Jin-tian Li to a biodiversity field experiment on contaminated post-mining lands in Hunan province, and our discussions led…

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Publication Partners: a COVID-19 publication assistance program in conservation science

Researchers around the world are trying to keep up on work duties and responsibilities while being required to stay at home. For some people this means caring for young children or other family members, devising homeschooling, switching courses to online delivery, scheduling meetings with team members, receiving new duties from superiors, and perhaps worrying about job security. It is natural that these people may feel overwhelmed and that routine tasks, like checking references or proofreading…

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Can skipping the peer-review process be a legitimate way to communicate science?

Science is an approach to inquiry and knowledge production that provides an unsubstitutable approach to evaluating empirical claims. And it is a specific and particular thing. Beyond the experiments and data collection, science must be communicated in order to impact knowledge and inform humanity’s understanding of the world around us and potential solutions to problems of our own making. The gold standard for communicating scientific findings is through peer-review. Peer review is the process by…

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Early evidence that governmental responses to COVID-19 reduce urban air pollution

There is no doubt that the global spread of COVID-19 represents the defining crisis of the last decade. Governments around the world have scrambled to try to reduce person-to-person spread and deal with pressures on public health infrastructure. Regions with community spread have almost universally faced restrictions on travel, business and social activities. These restrictions are designed to reduce the exponential spread of COVID-19 (that is, to flatten the curve), these restrictions will also have…

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