Trent University’s Masters in Sustainability Studies program Presenting a Series of Community Colloquium events

The Masters in Sustainability Studies Graduate Program at Trent University is pleased to present and welcome everyone to their Community Colloquium series of special presentations beginning this coming Wednesday, February 27th and continuing on Wednesdays through to Wednesday, March 27th.

Over the next five weeks, Trent University – both the main Symons campus as well as the downtown Traill Campus will host some renowned and important guests exploring various sustainability topics.

Robert Paehlke is a political scientist and Professor Emeritus of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University. He is a founding editor (1971) of the Canadian journal/magazine Alternatives: Canadian Environmental Ideas & Action. He is the author of: Some like It Cold: the Politics of Climate Change in Canada (2008); Democracy’s Dilemma: Environment, Social Equity and the Global Economy (MIT Press, 2004), a book on sustainability in a global age; and Environmentalism and the Future of Progressive Politics (Yale UP, 1991). He also edited Conservation and Environmentalism: an Encyclopedia (1995) and Managing Leviathan: Environmental Politics and the Administrative State (1990 and 2005). He has published more than a hundred articles and chapters on environmental policy, the history of environmentalism, sustainability and climate change.

Talk description: Sustainability, Society and Economy: Six Key Concepts: Efficiency, Economic Growth, Entrepreneurship, Social Class, Citizenship and Democracy”

Stephen Hill is an Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University with an education and professional background spanning the fields of engineering, renewable energy, environmental policy and corporate environmental management. His research is sponsored by Carbon Management Canada and SSHRC. He was the 2011 winner of the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the 2011 CMHC Award for Excellence in Education.

Talk description: Feeling the Wind: Contested Notions of Wind Power, People, Place and Climate

Gilles Paquet is currently Professor Emeritus at the School of Management and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Governance of the University of Ottawa. He is also associated to the consulting firm INVENIRE.

Mr. Paquet was President of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC – The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada) for a two-year term. He received honorary doctorates from the oldest Canadian university (Université Laval) and from the youngest (Thompson Rivers University) in 2005. In 2006, he received the Public Service Citation 2006 from the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada, an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University, and he was named Lifetime Member of the Canadian Economics Association in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Association. In 2007, he was made an Honorary Member of the Association des économistes québécois – an honor bestowed on half a dozen persons over the last thirty years. He also chaired the Panel charged with the National Capital Commission Mandate Review that tabled its report in December 2006.

For some 18 years, he taught economics at Carleton University where he also was Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in the 1970s. From 1981 to 1988, he was Dean of the Faculty of Administration at the University of Ottawa, and in 1997, he became the Founding Director of the Centre on Governance at the University of Ottawa.

Professor Paquet has authored or edited over 50 books and written over 400 reports, scientific papers or chapters in books on issues pertaining to the economic history of Canada, urban and regional studies, industrial organization, public management, knowledge management, and governance; he has authored an equally large number of papers in a variety of magazines and newspapers .

In 1982, Gilles Paquet was awarded the Jacques-Rousseau medal in recognition of important contributions to research of a multidisciplinary nature, and in 1989 the Esdras-Minville medal for the corpus of his work in social sciences. He was made a Member of the Royal Society of Arts in 1989, and a member of the Order of Canada in 1992.

Gilles Paquet has been active as a journalist on the radio and television network of Radio-Canada since the 1970s, as an editorial writer for some 5 years in the print media in the 1990s, and as a regular commentator on national affairs on TV Ontario from 1995 to 2006. He has also been the Editor in Chief of — a journal of public sector management and governance that reaches over 10,000 subscribers since 1994.

Talk description: The Governance of Sustainability as a Wicked Problem

Dr David B. Brooks, who was educated in geology and economics, spent much of his professional career with the International Development Research Centre. He now advises several Canadian Non-Governmental Organizations, including the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance (University of Victoria).  His main research interests are split between water soft paths (an approach to sustainable governance of fresh water) and water demand management in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on Israel and Palestine.  Among his books are Zero Energy Growth for Canada (McClelland & Stewart, 1981); Watershed: The Role of Fresh Water in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (IDRC Books, 1994 – co-author); and Making the Most of the Water We Have: The Soft Path Approach to Water Management (Earthscan, 2009, co-editor).  In 2012, Dr Brooks received an honorary doctorate of environmental studies from the University of Waterloo.

Talk description: Trans-boundary water agreements are usually conceived as allocation agreements. In other words, water is treated as if it were a pie to be divided among the riparian states. Though sometimes useful to avoid conflict in the short term, this approach is flawed as a way to ensure efficient, equitable, and sustainable management of water over the long term. This presentation proposes adoption of a joint management structure that allows for ongoing conflict resolution concerning water demands and does so in a way that effectively de-nationalizes and de-securitizes water uses. Though specifically applied to water shared by Israelis and Palestinians, the objectives, principles and institutional structure are relevant to any place in the world where trans-boundary water divides rather than unites two or more peoples.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Nisbet is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Trent University in Peterborough and an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa.  Her research encompasses personality, social, health, and environmental psychology, exploring individual differences in ‘nature relatedness’ and the links between human-nature relationships, happiness, health, and sustainable behaviour. Her work is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and appears in Environment and Behaviour, Canadian Psychology, the Journal of Happiness Studies, and Psychological Science. Dr. Nisbet teaches courses on health psychology, emotion and motivation, personality, and the psychology of environmental behaviour. She is an avid (and happy) nature enthusiast. For more information, visit

Talk description: Sustainability is in our Nature: Linking Individual Differences in Nature Relatedness to Well-being and Environmental Behaviour

Bob Paehlke: Wed, Feb 27th, 4 pm – 7 pm: Traill College, Bagnani Hall, Room 101

Stephen Hill:  Wed, March 6th, 4 pm – 6 pm:  Blackburn Hall, Room 126

Gilles Paquet: Wed, March 13th, 4 pm – 7 pm: Traill College, Bagnani Hall, Room 101

David Brooks: Wed, March 20th, 2 pm – 5 pm: Blackburn Hall, Room 126

Lisa Nisbet: Wed, March 27th, 4 pm – 7 pm: Traill College, Bagnani Hall, Room 101

Quick Facts:

The Community colloquiums are a required course for all MA Sustainability Studies students, bringing together students, community members, faculty, visiting scholars and experts for an intensive exploration of relevant historical, theoretical and practical issues. Each talk examines how we, as a global human community, can foster social equity, stimulate our economy and still limit our impact on the natural environment.

The M.A. in Sustainability Studies is an interdisciplinary research and reflective practice training program designed to enable students to explore the sustainability of human societies and the natural environment on which they depend. The program aims to provide students with education and training that will prepare them to be intellectual and organizational leaders within academia, government, industry, and the non-profit sector. The program attracts students from around the world and this coming September will see the fourth cohort begin the two year full-time program.

The research area of MA students is vast and covers everything from:

  • sustainability of aid work in post-earthquake Haiti
  • social and cultural sustainability in Northern and Indigenous communities
  • urban food security and the potentials of vertical farming and
  • how small rurally situated cities in Ontario can learn from successful and sustainable economic initiatives in developing countries and Scandinavian.

For further information on any of these events or the Masters in Sustainability Studies program, please visit or contact Laurie Collette at 705-748-1011 ext. 7721 or .