York professors frequent the pages of Alternatives

With topics that reach across the spectrum of emerging concerns about the environment, the Winter 2004 edition of Alternatives contains articles authored by three researchers in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. Alternatives is a quarterly journal on environmental issues published out of the University of Waterloo, and can be found on many newsstands.

Right: Alternatives Fall 2003 issue

Professor Paul Wilkinson and PhD candidates Lenore Newman and Pablo Bose tackle subjects that illustrate some of the concerns researchers deal with in environmental studies. These include energy conservation technologies, the protection of national parks and environmental justice in the new economy. Another FES member, Professor Deborah Barndt, contributed an article to the journal’s theme issue on food policy in the Fall 2003 edition.

In The Soft Path Holds Up: Efficient technologies and renewable sources will bring a cheaper, more reliable energy future (Winter 2004) Lenore Newman and David Brooks, director of research for Friends of the Earth Canada, discuss impediments to Canada’s adoption of the “soft” energy path. Soft energy path is a term coined in 1976 by Amory Lovins to describe an energy policy that relies on technologies that are “flexible, resilient, sustainable and benign”. The authors suggest that while some sectors of the Canadian economy have made big gains in adopting a soft path approach to energy conservation, others, such as passenger transportation, have not been as successful. They argue that the need to meet or exceed Kyoto targets for greenhouse gas emissions presents a good opportunity to move to a soft energy path in Canada.

The article Microchips and Monsters (Winter 2004), written by Pablo Bose (left), reviews a book by David Naguib Pellow and Lisa Sun-Hee Park, The Silicon Valley of Dreams: Environmental Injustice, Immigrant Workers, and the High-Tech Global Economy (New York University Press, 2003). Bose calls the book “one of the most gripping and powerful I have come across in some time,” noting that the authors “weave a fascinating story of both the historical and current domination of gender, class and race in Silicon Valley.” In part, the book aims to broaden the discussion of environmental justice, which normally centres on neighbourhoods and homes, to the workplace.


In his article Parks in Perspective (Winter 2004), Paul Wilkinson (right) reviews Protected Areas and the Regional Planning Imperative in North America: Integrating Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development (J.G. Nelson et al., eds., University of Calgary Press and Michigan State University Press, 2003). The book is a collection of papers presented at a workshop on regional approaches to parks and protected areas in North America (Tijuana, Mexico, 1999). Wilkinson finds a recurring theme that “protected areas should not be thought of as isolated islands bounded by artificial borders that can be preserved without consideration of the regional – indeed, even international – context in which they exist.” He also calls this book “a unique and valuable contribution to the literature on protected areas.”

“Eat, drink, and buy local,” and “Participate in a food co-op”: these are two suggestions offered in Take Food Action (Fall 2003) by Deborah Barndt (left), an academic and activist concerned with food security and justice. Her other suggestions include slow cooking, good food boxes and potluck meals. The item also lists Web links for further research on topics such as biotechnology, hunger and food security and fair trade and global justice.

 To see more of the magazine, visit the Alternatives Journal site.