Case Studies

Case StudiesConservation

The Re-Wilding Movement in the Heart of Wales

12 Oct, 2017

The Cambrian Mountains, once a striving natural land, has been overwhelmed by harsh agricultural practices which triggered a shift in native vegetation as well as habitat loss. Located in the heart of Wales, the Cambrian Mountains is home to farmers who raise sheep, a traditional source of protein and wool, through grazing practices that have left the land barren of natural vegetation. As George Monbiot describes it, the Cambrian Mountains have been reduced to a desert to support agricultural practices that are of small influence. This unprecedented shift in vegetation and habitat loss has gained the attention of the Welsh government and non-government organizations to collectively work with farmers in creating a sustainable management plan to revitalize the Cambrian Mountains.

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Case StudiesConservation

The Opposition of the Standing Rock Sioux to the North Dakota Oil Pipeline

12 Oct, 2017

The Dakota Access Pipeline (commonly referred to as DAPL) runs for 1,172 miles, starting in the Bakken and Three Forks Formations and continuing Southeast through South Dakota and Iowa, ending in the Gulf Coast Refineries in Pakota, Illinois. The Bakken and Three Forks Formations, the point where Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Dakota and Montana meet, have an estimated 7.4 billion barrels of oil and 0.53 billion barrels of natural gas trapped underground. In addition to crossing over four state borders, the proposed pipeline route will cross under the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers as well as a section of Lake Oahe, located half a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation border.

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Case StudiesConservation

Indigenous Homelands in Yellowstone National Park

12 Oct, 2017

During the era of colonialism, with the emergence of conservation and preservation movements, Yellowstone National Park (YNP) was created. This park was created to protect a valuable ecosystem and promote the wilderness conservation movement. However the creation of this park affected several stakeholders and created several issues over land rights, sovereignty, and environmental management. The major affected stakeholder that will be discussed are the traditional Indigenous people of the Yellowstone area, how they initially were displaced from their land with the creation of the park to present day issues they face at the cost of conservation.

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Case StudiesConservation

Dietary Dependence on Foreign Crops

12 Oct, 2017

People around the world are now more dependent on foreign crops than ever before. This substantial change in production and reliance on foreign crops is partly due the fact that not all crops can be grown in the same climate, and partly due to economic incentives for developing countries to sell their products on the global market. Currently, the dependence on foreign crops is largely due to the decreased value of national currency for exporting countries, cultural supermarket norms in developed countries, and food trends that increase the intensification of monoculture cash-crops. Additionally, as the incomes of developing countries increase, so too does their ability to acquire larger and more exotic food supplies.

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Case StudiesConservation

Environmental Impact of Meat Consumption

12 Oct, 2017

Most cultures in the world have embraced a meat-eating lifestyle, as has been the case since agriculture became a prominent food supply thousands of years ago. Modern agriculture is now the number one contributor to a variety of factors that impose hazards to the environment, including and not limited to, an increase in rates of methane and CO2, overconsumption of water, overuse of land resources, waste production, water and air quality degradation, deforestation, and species extinction. In particular, the United States has the second highest rate of meat consumption for any given nation at 198.51 lbs per capita per year, falling just behind Australia at 198.87 lbs. With a population of 319 million people, the United States is by far the greatest consumer of meat in the world.

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Case StudiesConservation

Decline in African Elephant Populations

12 Oct, 2017

For many decades, statistics have shown a significant decline in African elephant populations due to a lack of regulation. Governmental corruption and political instability in Sub-Saharan African countries allowed the ivory trade to occur for centuries. Lack of regulation contributed to the continuous degradation and exploitation of natural resources. The current decrease in elephant populations is primarily due to illegal poaching, demand for Ivory products, and factors associated with human population growth. Curbing illegal poaching of elephants for ivory depends on a decrease in the demand for such priceless products. Secondary causes of population decrease include habitat fragmentation, as well as the alteration of age and genetic distribution within existing elephant populations. This issue has severe ecological repercussions, as African elephants are keystone species within the the continent’s landscapes.

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Case StudiesConservation

Yasuní-ITT Project in Ecuador

12 Oct, 2017

The Yasuni-ITT Initiative aimed to prevent drilling in the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini oil field in Ecuador. This would protect biodiversity, maintain indigenous peoples’ rights, and eliminate 400 million tons of CO2 emissions. The Yasuni-ITT proposed that the global community contribute roughly $350 million annually for ten years to fund employment in sectors such as renewable energy, while respecting biodiversity and social equality. In return, Ecuador would provide ‘Yasuni Guarantee Certificates’ corresponding to the avoided CO2 emissions, which could be used on the European Union’s carbon credits market. This model introduced a global method of jointly managing environmental costs, however studies indicated that the international community was unlikely to financially support communities wishing to strand local assets for global benefit. The Yasuní-ITT Initiative ended in 2013 when it was found economically unable to follow through on its plan.

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Case StudiesConservation

Pesticide Poisoning

12 Oct, 2017

While in the short run, pesticides seem very beneficial for agriculture including crop life and dealing with unwanted or invading vegetation, after closer inspection at the effects on plant, animal, and human life, it becomes very clear that the negative effects such as extreme illness or death, heavily outweigh the positive effects. Pesticides are very common in agriculture today, most commonly used to protect crops from widespread disease and pests. As a result, humans have enjoyed the benefits a healthy crops with and lack of poor harvesting seasons. When humans started farming in Mesopotamia 10,000 years ago pesticides were not commonly used. The first evidence of pesticide use was about 4,500 years ago by the Sumerians and 3,200 years ago in China

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Case StudiesConservation

Monsanto and Terminator Seeds

12 Oct, 2017

Monsanto is a corporation which specializes in creating GMO (genetically modified organism) technology and genetically altering seeds, especially soy, to improve the crop yield. Their “terminator seeds” are modified to only last one generation to ensure that farmers have to annually purchase new seeds from the organization. This method poses an environmental concern being that it significantly reduces crop diversity and introduces many GMOs into the earth.

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Case StudiesConservation

Grizzly Bear Conservation in BC

12 Oct, 2017

Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) are a major representative of the wild. Grizzly bears usually weigh 136-680 kilograms and the males are usually larger in size. They belong to the same family as polar bears and black bears. The correct scientific name is brown bear, however, they are referred as grizzlies due to distinct lighter colour hair on their back which gives them “grizzled” appearance. Grizzly bears have a hump on their shoulders. This is due to their mass of muscle which is specifically designed for digging. It is easy to distinguish black bears and grizzlies by looking at their faces: black bears have straight-faced profile while grizzlies have a dished-face profile. In the colour range, Grizzlies are usually dark brown, but can vary from light cream colour to black which is mainly affected by their genetics. In addition, grizzlies have relatively longer claws than other species of bears, designed for digging. Grizzlies can adapt to cold environment with the help of their thick fur. Also, their long claws and powerful shoulders help them create winter dens and scavenge for food.

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Case StudiesConservation

Illegal Logging in Brazil

12 Oct, 2017

Illegal logging in the Brazilian Amazon is a problem that deals not only with the environment, but also with various economic, social, and political pressures. Illegal logging that leads to deforestation is an issue that extends to local, national, and international levels. This page will describe the background of illegal logging in Brazil, its effect on the environment and economy, and the actors that affect it and are influenced by it.

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Case StudiesConservation

Hydraulic Fracturing

12 Oct, 2017

Since the Industrial Revolution, world energy consumption, traditionally supplied by combustible organic material, such as oil, coal, or natural gas, has rapidly increased. As conventional sources of fossil fuels are depleted, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), a controversial method of extracting natural gas, has become a popular unconventional approach to fossil fuel extraction.

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Case StudiesConservation

Gwaii Haanas National Park Preserve

12 Oct, 2017

Gwaii Haanas Park reserve and Haida Heritage site is an archipelago of 138 islands that lies 130km off the coast of mainland British Columbia; known simply as Gwaii Haanas, this area is protected as both a National Park reserve and an important Heritage site for the Haida First Nation. The islands are a very popular tourist destination due to the large temperate rainforests that house a vast diversity of animals. The Haida First Nation have a rich history on Gwaii Haanas, ranging back over 12,000 years, and even have a UNESCO World Heritage Site at one of the village sites on the islands.

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Case StudiesConservation

Fort McMurray and the Fires of Climate Change

12 Oct, 2017

Fort McMurray, located in a beautiful service area with vast oil sands deposit in northeast of Alberta, is surrounded by peatlands and boreal forests of aspen and spruce. Though normally very wet, Fort McMurray is relative dry and hot in summer, and its weather is becoming more extreme because of climate change. With a low moisture content and a high volume of resin for defence against disease, stems of trees in boreal forests are highly flammable. Beginning southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta on May 1st, 2016, the wildfire swept through forests and communities and destroyed around 2,400 buildings in only two days, resulting in over 8,000 residents to leave their homes. Ultimately, it was under control by July 5th, 2016. The fire, reported spreading cross 590,000 hectares, is the costliest disaster in Canadian history. The intense forest fire has a profound impact on local environment and ecology. About 500 species of wildlife lost their habitats or were in danger due to the fire. Many wastes such as ash and rotting food were produced in the burning process. The fire also released a large amount of CO2 and other toxic contaminants including heavy metals and PAHs deposited on trees and soils.

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Case StudiesConservation

Ecological and Social Costs of Cotton Farming

12 Oct, 2017

In today’s age, cotton is one of the most versatile crops that the earth has to offer. Many of us are familiar with the usage of clothing in cotton, but cotton is also used in beauty products and food products as well. Look at the clothes that you are wearing right now, a majority; if not all of it is made out of cotton material. Cotton is favorable in clothing because of its softness, durability, and insulation characteristics. The leftover cotton seed can be used to make cottonseed oil and cotton meal. The oil can be used in cooking, such as deep frying foods or used in salads as a dressing. If not used in cooking, cottonseed oil can also be used to make tons of oil-based products such as soap, candles, or even cosmetics. Cotton meal is rich in protein and is used for human consumption or for animal fodder. These cotton products and byproducts are used by people all around the world, the amount of cotton consumed must be insane! The growth of cotton takes up approximately 2.5 percent of the world’s cultivatable land across 85 different countries. During the year of 2015 to 2016, the world consumed a staggering amount of 24.2 million metric tons of cotton. This includes uses of cotton in all its forms. However, with the good comes the bad and although cotton has a ton of benefits, it also carries many social and environmental drawbacks.

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Case StudiesConservation

Golf Course Conservation Management

12 Oct, 2017

Urbanization is a trend that continues to remain consistent and dominant in our world today. Countries continue to expand infrastructure and grow industry in order to meet both global and national demands. As countries develop, rural landscapes are continually transformed into urban settings. In 1950, only 30% of the population lived in an urban setting compared to today where over half of the population resides in cities. This statistic continues to rise which sparks many questions dealing with conservation. Primarily, conservationists examine how to find new avenues of protecting the environment within the confounds of an urban setting. One possibility lies within golf courses since many urban cities have various golf courses within a close vicinity of them. While nothing overcomes the conservation value of an untouched piece of natural land, are golf courses the next best option? Being that golf courses often try to display and showcase natural beauty, do they also help conserve nature? While there is value to be found in golf courses, most of it is not actualized and remains as potential.

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Case StudiesConservation

Suburban Golf Course

12 Oct, 2017

There is much debate within our society today about whether or not golf courses provide conservation value. While some articles portray golf courses as improving conservation value by creating habitat for sensitive organisms, others sources are cynical in their outlook towards the conservation value of golf courses. The naysayers suggest golf courses remove the habitat of the natural organisms, replacing it with habitat that only suits common, urbanized species. Many of these differences in opinion stem from both sides understanding about what defines ‘conservation value’ since there are various aspects that contribute to it. Many of these aspects work independently from each other; thus, it is very difficult to come up with one definition for the term ‘conservation value.’ Despite this, most sources do agree that improvement on conservation value stems from improvements in management decisions.

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Case StudiesConservation

Cultural Keystone Places

12 Oct, 2017

The Colorado river delta was once a thriving and biological productive region, which spanned two million acres across Northwestern Mexico. However, by the middle of the twentieth century, the Colorado river began to be diverted and dammed for irrigation, triggering the collapse of the extensive delta ecosystem. The Colorado river spans from the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming through Western Colorado, New Mexico, Southeastern Utah, Nevada, California, and Arizona, eventually draining into the Pacific Ocean through the Gulf of California in Mexico. There are fifteen dams on the main tributary of the Colorado river. Since the 1963 construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, the last 100 miles of the river rarely reaches the ocean; resulting in a barren delta, reduced to a tenth of its former self.

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Case StudiesConservation

Biofuels

12 Oct, 2017

Biofuel is the product of the refinement of plant biomass which can then be burned for heat or light energy. It is made of organic matter, either directly from plants or indirectly from domestic, industrial or commercial wastes. There are different types of biofuels. Before fossil fuels, firewood was the primary source of fuel domestically, especially for heating and cooking before the 19th century. Materials such as wood, hay, straw, and dung are collected, dried, and then burned as a fuel source. The amount of energy that a well-seasoned firewood can produce is approximately 15 MJ per kg, which is one-third to one-half of what fossil fuels can produce. Even today, nearly 2.6 billion people, primarily rural areas of developing countries, still depend on firewood as an energy source.

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Case StudiesEducation

Teacher Blogger

10 Oct, 2017

Sarah has recently begun her first contract as a certified teacher at a high school in Vancouver. The position allows her to teach Physical Education and coach one of the school’s basketball teams, which is exciting for her, as she is able to bring together her love of working with students and her passion for fitness. She is not sure, however, that she will teach for her entire career. In fact, she thinks that in the future she might want to work as a personal trainer or run her own personal training company. She has thought about doing this since she began working part time as a fitness coach a few years ago to help her pay her tuition at UBC, something she is continuing to do as a new teacher to help pay her student loan debt.

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Case StudiesEducation

Snapchat Mishap

10 Oct, 2017

After being encouraged to take advantage of communication apps as a teaching tool with her high school Social Studies classes at the beginning of her practicum, Jessica decided to make teaching accounts on a few different apps and websites in order to engage her students. Having looked her up online prior to the start of her practicum, Jessica’s school advisor suggested that, if she wanted to use social media, she should probably make her current accounts private and consider creating new accounts to use with her classes. After discussing the idea and getting permission to create school-related social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat with the school administrator, Jessica made the accounts under her name Ms. Yu.

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Case StudiesEducation

Rate My Teacher Candidate

10 Oct, 2017

After hearing stories about teachers being disciplined or criticized for online posts, Mateo decided not to use social media during his practicum. He was not a regular user of social media anyway, having only a Facebook account that he posted on occasionally. Between using the highest available privacy settings and continuing to post very little from the account, Mateo felt confident that he was unlikely to run into any problems related to social media while teaching. While completing his practicum, he knew other teacher candidates who had multiple social media accounts and were more active online. They would sometimes express concern over the potential for certain posts or pictures to have a negative effect on their reputations as teachers and Mateo was grateful not to have the same worries.

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Case StudiesEducation

Questionable Comments

10 Oct, 2017

Before beginning their practicums, a group of teacher candidates who were placed in the same school to teach created a private Facebook group and a group chat through text so that they could share resources, discuss their experiences, and plan times to get together outside of school. Because they were all trying to monitor their use of social media in order to avoid breaching any policies, they decided to communicate through these private groups, as opposed to posting on any public profiles. Recognizing that they could help one another succeed by monitoring their social media interactions, all of the teacher candidates agreed not to post comments about each other or share any photos from their parties without asking for permission, especially if they were drinking alcohol or wearing revealing clothing that they would not wear while teaching.

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Case StudiesEducation

Pop-Up Problem

10 Oct, 2017

Shira is always looking for creative ways to engage the grade 3 students she is teaching in her practicum. While searching online for fun ideas to incorporate into one of her upcoming art classes, she comes across a lesson plan that involves painting using toy squirt guns, which she thinks her students would enjoy. While her students are working on their math problems, Shira decides to search for inexpensive squirt guns she can purchase to use with the lesson. She uses a personal laptop that she brought to school because her school advisor is using the classroom computer for her own work.

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Case StudiesEducation

Dating App Debacle

10 Oct, 2017

Knowing that decisions about social media use can be difficult for teachers, new teacher candidate Jonas has taken action with regards to his social media accounts in an attempt to avoid crossing any professional boundaries during his practicum. He keeps his Facebook and Instagram accounts set to private and he has started using pseudonyms, as he knows that privacy settings on social media platforms can change without his knowledge. He has also explained to students who have asked to follow or “friend” him on social media that he will not do so, as he believes that communication between a teacher and student through personal social media accounts would not be appropriate.

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Case StudiesCivil Engineering
a yurt in the background of the image, surrounded by trees, with blurry plants in the foreground

UBC Farm through a Sustainable Lens

23 May, 2017

We use the University of British Columbia Farm as a case study to demonstrate sustainable design approaches, measures, and practices. The ecosystem approach to sustainable design will be explored, using the Farm as the ecosystem in question.

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Case StudiesForestry
mountains in indonesia, from above, with clouds & fog

Illegal logging in Indonesia

18 May, 2017

Since the onset of the Indonesian economic crisis in 1997, illegal logging has increased across the country. This case study will illustrate the problem of illegal logging broadly in the national context and focus at the local level of Kalimantan, with village loggers.

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Case StudiesForestry
elephants around a tree in Cameroon

Illegal logging in Cameroon

18 May, 2017

While Cameroon has established a formal system of forest enterprises that are legally registered, rates of illegal logging in the country remain high. A 2002 study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) suggests that 50-70% of timber is sourced in this manner.

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Case StudiesForestry
ruins of a temple in the jungle in Cambodia

Illegal logging in Cambodia

18 May, 2017

From the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, the forest cover in Cambodia decreased sharply from 75% to less than 35%, mainly due to the illegal, but officially sanctioned logging, by the Royal Cambodian Army Forces and Khmer Rouge.

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Case StudiesForestry
elephants in a forest in India

Illegal logging imports in India

18 May, 2017

With a rising population and increasing demand for wood and wood based products in the real estate sector, India is emerging as a major consumer of illegal timber and one of the world’s largest importers of wood-based products. A decline in domestic wood production means that India needs to meet its demands from other sources. In 2012, nearly 20% of timber imports were estimated to be illegally sourced.

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Case StudiesForestry
mountain in Mozambique with trees in foreground, in semi-darkness such as at dusk

Illegal logging in Mozambique

13 May, 2017

Mozambique endured sixteen years of brutal civil war and now finds itself at a crossroads between conservation and development. This case study will examine the various ways that development and conservation can co-exist in Mozambique, showing that, when done properly, both are possible.

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Forestry

Illegal Logging in the Brazil Amazon

21 Feb, 2017

Brazil is one of the countries with extensive tropical forests and home to 60% of the Amazon rainforest. The country has 27 states with a total land cover of 850 million hectares, where 463 million hectares are estimated to be forested.

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Forestry

Illegal Logging: Multi Billion Dollar Transactions Hiding in Plain Sight

24 Aug, 2016

There is no common agreed definition of illegal logging. Three perspectives of what constitutes illegal logging: firstly, that of The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), an international policy analysis institute, secondly, from Global Witness, an international Rights NGO, and thirdly, from the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade (INET), a Canadian Aboriginal NGO.

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Economics

Canada’s Pacific Groundfish Trawl Fishery: Ecosystem Conflicts

24 Aug, 2016

The B.C. groundfish trawl fishery came under attack from ENGOs in the mid-2000s for destruction of the aquatic habitat. This case study examines the negotiations and the degree of success of the world’s first habitat bycatch limitation agreement.

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Political Science

Global Climate Justice

22 Aug, 2016

What distribution of adjustment costs for climate change mitigation is fair, and should be acceptable to the most (important) countries? Are there ways of framing the issue that could be more effective in galvanizing effective action?

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Law

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines: Reconciling Interests

20 Aug, 2016

Is it possible to reconcile the competing interests between the project proponent and those First Nations communities who oppose the project on the one hand and the conflict between First Nations – where some communities oppose the project and others are in support of it?

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