Professor Roger Keil named recipient of the President’s Research Excellence Award

Professor Roger Keil of the Faculty of Environmental Studies has been named the 2013 President’s Research Excellence Award recipient. Keil was accorded the honour in recognition of his significant contributions to York University’s research community.

Keil-V“I am deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award. I have been extremely fortunate to work on many research projects with faculty, staff and students at York University who have provided inspiration and support for the work that is being celebrated here,” says Keil, who is also the director of the City Institute at York University (CITY).

Roger Keil

Introduced four years ago coinciding with York’s 50th anniversary, the award recognizes established, full-time, active faculty members with outstanding research achievement and significant contributions to advance the University’s international reputation for research excellence. The award was announced Wednesday, at the University’s inaugural Research Gala, held in recognition of student and faculty research success and to celebrate York’s 2012-2013 research.

“I am thrilled that Roger was named the recipient of this award,” says Mamdouh Shoukri, president & vice-chancellor. “Roger is a highly respected researcher and mentor, and one of many of our leaders here at York making great strides in issues of global importance.”

The Senate Committee on Awards selected Keil from the nine nominations for this year’s award — a $10,000 internal research grant — for his many achievements as an internationally renowned scholar who has shaped the interdisciplinary study of global urbanism.

Keil, who leads the $2.5-million Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI), Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century, has published 11 books and more than 150 articles, and was the editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, a premier journal in his field. He has also been a visiting scholar and professor at a number of international institutions.

Are you a food zombie?

FoodZombieAre you a food zombie? The second “unconference” in the Zombie series will create a forum for students, staff and faculty to have open conversations about social justice, human rights, sustainability and food issues.

Are you aware of food justice issues? Are your actions hurting disenfranchised people worldwide? Do you want to take action and make a difference here at York and beyond?

Come and take action at the Are YoU a Food Zombie: How Do We Make Better Choices Unconference, which will take place Monday, March 4, from 10am to 3pm, at 280N York Lanes, Keele campus. Lunch will be provided by York University Food Services, a part of Campus Services & Business Operations.

The end goal is to create opportunities to work together to take action both personally and here at York University.

An unconference uses “open-space technology” to host a conference that allows participants to determine the agenda themselves at the start of the day within the scope of a particular topic. So YoU set the agenda.

This unconference is brought to you through the joint efforts of the Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), York’s Centre for Human Rights and the President’s Sustainability Council.

The day will begin with registration, from 9:30 to 10am, followed by a collaborative planning session to determine the agenda for the day, from 10 to 11am. Once discussion topics are chosen and opportunities for collaborative action are defined, the group will divide up into breakout sessions based on their interests and expertise, from 11am to 2pm. The day will conclude with a summary of the breakout group discussion and the conclusions that can be drawn from the various experiences, from 2 to 3pm.

The first unconference on climate issues, held October 25, 2012, was a great success, with 45 students, staff and faculty in attendance. The final report of that event is now available. A third unconference on water is planned for March 25.

For more information on all the Unconferences, visit the IRIS website.

Focus on Sustainability Film Festival to screen four documentaries

The upcoming annual Focus on Sustainability Film Festival will feature domestic and foreign documentaries, as well as a panel discussion with filmmakers, foodies and academics.

The event will take place Friday, March 1, from 9am to 4:30pm, in the Nat Taylor Cinema, 102 North Ross Building, Keele campus. The cost of admission is $2 for all-day access. It is presented by Planet in Focus and York University.

Several films will be shown, followed by a panel discussion at 1:30pm and the final film at 3pm.

The panel will include:

  • Michael Stadtlander, chef and activist
  • Lawrence Andres of Harmony Organics
  • Carly Dunster, food lawyer

The films will include:

Bitter Seeds at 9am
Every 30 minutes a farmer in India kills himself in despair because he can no longer provide for his family. Will Ramkrishna be next? A cotton farmer at the epicentre of the suicide crisis region, he is struggling to keep his land. Manjusha, the neighbours’ daughter, is determined to overcome village traditions and become a journalist. Ramkrishna’s plight is her first assignment. Bitter Seeds raises critical questions about the human cost of genetically modified agriculture within a gripping character-based narrative. This is the final film in the Globalization Trilogy, following the award-winning Store Wars and China Blue.

LoveMEATender at 10:50am
It is billed as a documentary about the world of meat as it has never been seen before. It questions the place of meat in the lives of human and the crazy surge that made it a product like any other, subject to the rule of the lowest possible price. In 2050, there will be around nine billion individuals on Earth and to supply everyone with meat will require 36 billion head of livestock. Is it reasonable to continue to think that every person can eat meat every day?

Urban Roots at 12:10pm
Urban Roots is the next documentary from Tree Media. Produced by Leila Conners (The 11th Hour) and Mathew Schmid and directed by Mark MacInnis, the film follows the urban farming phenomenon in Detroit. Urban Roots is a timely, moving and inspiring film that speaks to a nation grappling with collapsed industrial towns and the need to forge a sustainable and prosperous future.

Sushi: The Global Catch at 3pm
Sushi: The Global Catch received the Special Jury Award at the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival. This feature-length documentary asks the question: How did sushi become a global cuisine? What began as a simple but elegant food sold by Tokyo street vendors has become a worldwide phenomenon in the past 30 years. The film is shot in five nations that explores the tradition, growth and future of this popular cuisine. Beautiful raw pieces of fish and rice now appear from Warsaw and New York to football games in Texas towns. Can this growth continue without consequence?

There will also be door prizes, including:

  • Big Carrot: $100 gift certificate;
  • Farmhouse Tavern: Brunch gift certificate for two;
  • Free Times Cafe: Brunch gift certificate for two;
  • Fresh Restaurant: $60 gift card, reusable bag, cookbook;
  • Front Door Organics: $100 gift basket and bag;
  • MamaEarth Organics: $121 gift certificate.

The film festival is sponsored by York’s Centre for Human Rights and Food Services. It is organized by the Osgoode Environmental Law Society, the Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) and the Climate Consortium for Research Action Integration.

For more information, visit the Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability website or the Osgoode Environmental Law Society website.

Unplug: Don’t forget to turn off computers and appliances before the weekend

Unplug (electrical wire)

York community members are reminded to switch off and unplug before leaving for the weekend. It is also a good time to remind others in your area about the importance of shutting down computers, lights, small office or kitchen appliances and other personal electronics before leaving the office.

This simple gesture can yield tremendous results, given that staff and faculty operate more than 8,000 computers, and together the Keele and Glendon campuses have more than 140,000 internal lights.

The ability to shut down certain electrical devices will vary depending on departmental requirements.

For information on reducing your own carbon footprint, visit the David Suzuki Foundation website.

Green tip of the week: Be part of the solution

the earth

At York University, sustainability isn’t just about energy efficiency or waste reduction or alternative transportation – sustainability is also about creating a space for our community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, vendors and visitors to be part of the solution. Do you think we could be doing better on sustainability? Do you have a solution that could help to make a difference? If so, Sustainability @ York wants to hear from you.

Watch the sustainability video to learn more about the many things that York University has been doing, and then visit the Sustainability website to explore some of the ways that you can get involved. Take a pledge, volunteer as a Sustainability Ambassador, like our Facebook page, or sign your office up for the Green Office program. It’s never been easier to make a difference at York University.

The Green tip of the week is brought to you by sustainability@yorku. With your help, York University can reach its goal of becoming the leading postsecondary institution in Canada on sustainability.

Do you have any green tips to share? E-mail Sustainability @ York at sustainability@yorku.ca and your idea could be featured in a Green tip of the week.

Unplug: Don’t forget to turn off computers and appliances before the weekend

Unplug (electrical wire)

York community members are reminded to switch off and unplug before leaving for the weekend. It is also a good time to remind others in your area about the importance of shutting down computers, lights, small office or kitchen appliances and other personal electronics before leaving the office.

This simple gesture can yield tremendous results, given that staff and faculty operate more than 8,000 computers, and together the Keele and Glendon campuses have more than 140,000 internal lights.

The ability to shut down certain electrical devices will vary depending on departmental requirements.

For information on reducing your own carbon footprint, visit the David Suzuki Foundation website.

Passings: Retired FES professor left an urban landscape legacy

Former York University Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) Professor Michael Hough, who taught in the Faculty from 1970 until his retirement in 2005, died Friday, Jan. 25. He was 84.

Prof. Hough was a distinguished landscape architect recognized for the work he did with his firm, ENVision-The Hough Group, in addition to his accomplishments as a MichaelHoughprofessor and author. Prior to joining the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, he taught at the University of Toronto, where he founded the School of Landscape Architecture in 1963. He also taught at Harvard University.

Professor Michael Hough

Internationally renowned for his ecological approach to landscape architecture and planning, Prof. Hough viewed nature as an integral part of the city’s form and function and not something to be discarded or superficially added in a development. Applying this philosophy in his teachings at FES, Prof. Hough designed the certificate in Environmental Landscape Design – now the certificate in Urban Ecologies – as an alternative to traditional landscape architecture and planning.

“Michael Hough’s passion and dedication to the environment was unmatched. He challenged us to see urban ecology as an integrative process where the ecological is part of the urban and vice versa. Michael insisted on recognizing and reintroducing nature into the city,” said FES Professor Liette Gilbert.

Prof. Hough left a legacy of urban landscapes in Toronto, including Ontario Place, Osgoode Hall’s Courtyard, the grounds of Scarborough College and the University College Quad, Earth Sciences Courtyard and Philosopher’s Walk at University of Toronto, among many other pioneering projects in Canada and abroad.

He published several books concerning ecological design, environmental planning, urban ecology and landscapes, which include: The Urban Landscape (1971); City Form and Natural Process (1984); Land Conservation and Development (1984); Out of Place (1992); and Cities and Natural Process (1995, 2007). He also authored many influential reports, including “Bringing Back the Don” (1991).

Additionally, he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 1991 City of Toronto Arts Award for Architecture and Design; Toronto Arts Award for Architecture and Design (1991); Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Conservation (1993); and the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Society of landscape Architects (CSLA). He was also a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, having served as president, from 1985 to 1986.

To view videos of Prof. Hough’s memorial held Feb. 2 at Bloor Street United Church in Toronto, click here. To read a tribute to Prof. Hough, click here.

By Jessica Lamoglie De Nardo, FES media/communications coordinator

Unplug: Don’t forget to turn off computers and appliances before the weekend

Unplug (electrical wire)

York community members are reminded to switch off and unplug before leagreen letters saying "unplug"ving for the weekend. It is also a good time to remind others in your area about the importance of shutting down computers, lights, small office or kitchen appliances and other personal electronics before leaving the office.

This simple gesture can yield tremendous results, given that staff and faculty operate more than 8,000 computers, and together the Keele and Glendon campuses have more than 140,000 internal lights.

The ability to shut down certain electrical devices will vary depending on departmental requirements.

For information on reducing your own carbon footprint, visit the David Suzuki Foundation website.

Green tip of the week: Sustainable holiday decorating

With the holidays just around the corner, there are many creative ideas to save money and reduce waste by making cards and decorations from repurposed or reusable materials. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Cut up last year’s holiday cards and use them as gift tags.
  • Cover an old incandescent light bulb with fabric, paint or glitter to use as an ornament.
  • Cut snowflakes from used paper to hang in your windows.

A quick Internet search will turn up dozens of ideas with detailed instructions on how to make eco-friendly, "Rethink Reduse Reuse Recycle" posterinexpensive, homemade decorations. As an added bonus, if made out of durable materials such as cloth, wood or metal, homemade decorations will last a long time.

A wreath made from used coffee sleeves and a Christmas tree made of old newspapers

For other sustainable holiday decorating ideas, see the Sustainability Blog, and for more information on how to reduce, reuse and recycle year-round, visit the ZeroWaste site. ZeroWaste is a program of Campus Services and Business Operations.

The Green Tip of the Week is brought to you by sustainability@yorku. Check out the Sustainability website, sign your office up for the Green Office program, become a Sustainability Ambassador and like our Facebook page. It’s never been easier to get involved in sustainability at York University.

Do you have any green tips to share? E-mail sustainability@yorku.ca and your idea could be featured in a Green Tip of the Week.

Green tip of the week: A zippy way to travel

new patrol car

Walking, cycling and taking public transit are the greenest ways of getting around, but some trips are easier done with a car. For those looking for the convenience of an automobile without all of the everyday economic and environmental costs, car sharing is an option worth checking out.

Car sharing allows users to borrow a car for short periods of time – typically an hour or two – at minimal cost and without all of the other responsibilities of car ownership. York University currently has 12 Zipcars in 2 locations on the Keele campus. For more information on the Zipcar program at York, visit the Zipcar page and the Transportation Services page.

The Green Tip of the Week is brought to you by sustainability@yorku. Check out the Sustainability website, sign your office up for the Green Office program, become a Sustainability Ambassador and like our Facebook page. It’s never been easier to get involved in sustainability at York University.

Do you have any green tips to share? E-mail sustainability@yorku.ca and your idea could be featured in a Green Tip of the Week.