Applications surge at York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies

York University has had a Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) since 1968, created during the first modern wave of environmental concern, wrote the National Post April 22 in a special report. With undergraduate, graduate and PhD programs, it has 1,000 students and offers 150 different courses in such subjects as resource management, urban sustainability and even animal and human relations. This year’s applications for its undergraduate program have surged by 30 per cent, wrote the Post.

Despite York’s longer history in the field, environmental studies is still a relatively young area “and changing all the time” says Barbara Rahder, FES dean at York. “I don’t think we even had a class in climate change five years ago,” says Rahder, a specialist in urban planning who has taught full time in the Faculty since 1993. “Now, we have three faculty members and three Environmental Canada people seconded to us to do research and teach here” on the topic.

Roughly speaking, university-level environmental training can be divided between the hard sciences, such as engineering or biology, and the soft sciences, literature and philosophy. Programs such as York’s are on the rise and try to span both types.

Mommy and daddy bloggers worry about exploitation

It’s a dilemma many parent bloggers have begun to confront: Is it ethical to blog about my children, wrote The Globe and Mail April 22. For some, giving up blogging is a more knotty problem than just giving up a forum to vent or protecting a child’s privacy. One of the top parenting blogs, Dooce, written by Salt Lake City mom Heather Armstrong, has been the target of criticism for both its frankness and its evolution into big business. "Dooce" is trademarked and filled with big-money ads – some observers have pegged her earnings to as much as US$40,000 a month, wrote the Globe.

Such income is hard to abandon, says May Friedman, a PhD student at York University who is writing a book on the parenting blogosphere. It can be especially complicated for someone such as Armstrong: Her audience has come to expect her irreverent, potty-mouthed writing, with occasional moments of disdain for her child, Leta. "She doesn’t really have the option of pulling the plug the way other people do," Friedman says.

York centre helps organize German film festival

KinoFest 2008, a five-day celebration of new German-language film work, opens April 30, at the Princess in Waterloo, wrote the Waterloo Region Record, April 22. KinoFest has been planned in conjunction with "Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria," a major conference that will bring together scholars from all over North America and Europe. The Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at York University and the Waterloo Centre for German Studies at the University of Waterloo both played a role in making this happen.

On air

  • Chuck Gastle, adjunct professor of international trade law in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about the North American leaders’ summit meeting in New Orleans, on CBC Radio April 21.
  • James Laxer, political science professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, spoke about his latest book, Oil, on Vancouver’s CKNW radio April 21.
  • Gordon Albright, professor emeritus of mathematics in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, spoke about Green Religion and a list of new modern sins released by the Vatican, on CBC Radio, April 21.