Resilience in social–ecological systems: the roles of learning and education
In this article Marianne E. Krasny, Cecilia Lundholm and Ryan Plummer present the Special Issue on “Resilience in social-ecological systems: the roles of learning and education”, published in Environmental Education Research, Volume 16 (5, 6), 2010.
Perhaps our next grant application as researchers needs to be with someone from outside our usual frame of reference, whether this is from another adjectival education, or someone from the educational mainstream, or from a different discipline altogether. At a time of greater recognition that interdisciplinary research is needed, this would seem sound anyway, and this links with the point I made earlier about the need for a combination of methodological approaches. This is surely the time for something different, and for a bit of risk. (Scott 2009, 160)
Our understanding of the world is changing. Among ecologists, natural resources managers, and educators, a shift is underway from the mechanistic and reductionist paradigm to a complex adaptive systems worldview, which acknowledges the dynamism of systems, possibilities for non-linearity, and likelihood of emergent outcomes. Concurrent with this shift are attempts to consider social and ecological systems as linked and nested and to integrate social and ecological values in managing the environment for change and sustainability. Such social–ecological approaches to environmental management address the nature of a system’s resilience in the face of change and uncertainty.
These changes in the way we view social–ecological systems, as linking humans and other components of the environment, and as needing to adapt and transform, are echoed in writings about environmental education. For example, Scott (n.d.) outlines the incorporation into environmental education of notions of sustainable development, a ‘linked human–environment’ concept that describes ‘a process of making the emergent future ecologically sound and humanly habitable, as it emerges, through the continuous responsive learning which is the human species’ most characteristic endowment.’ In both environmental education and education for sustainable development (ESD), discussion has focused on creating opportunities for ongoing, responsive, and transformative learning leading to new insights and abilities, rather than on promoting more proscribed environmental behaviours. Although education focusing on responsible behaviours may lead to immediate environmental improvements, it is seen as fostering neither reflection nor the ability of learners to respond to feedback from systems about the consequences of their actions (Breiting 2009; Jensen and Schnack 1997; Morgensenand Schnack 2010). By suggesting that learners need to develop the capacity to make decisions when faced with new environmental dilemmas and feedback about their actions, environmental education and ESD implicitly make assumptions about change in social–ecological systems. Such notions of managing for, adapting to, and growing from change are explicit in discussions of social–ecological system resilience.
Managing for change implies new strategies to advance sustainability that, on the one hand, avoid the pitfalls of managing for stable state endpoints, while on the other hand support human progress within ecological limits (Armitage, Marschke, and Plummer 2008; Folke, Colding, and Berkes 2003; Folke et al. 2002). Environmental education strategies consistent with managing for change include social learning, multiple-loop learning, reflexivity, allowing for self-organisation and other forms of participation, attention to multiple forms of knowledge and governance, and the incorporation of feedbacks or information from the social and ecological components of a system. Several of the authors of the Special Issue on “Resilience in social-ecological systems: the roles of learning and education”, published in Environmental Education Research Volume 16 (5, 6), 2010make the case that such approaches to learning and environmental education foster resilience not only at the level of the social–ecological system but also at the level of individual learners.
We view this special issue as an attempt to address Reid and Scott’s (2006, 246) call to achieve a deeper understanding of the relationship between learning, society, and sustainability through becoming more: ‘(a) reflexive about what we mean by learning, and wide-ranging in where, when and how we seek to research such learning; (b) sophisticated in our use of theory (e.g., learning, social, cultural, environmental …) and existing traditional and non-traditional forms of knowledge; and (c) creative in how we seek to integrate knowledge generation with knowledge transformation/ utilization.’ Achieving such a deeper understanding of sustainability, society, and learning requires working across disciplinary boundaries to challenge existing assumptions. Similarly, in linking scholarship focusing on social–ecological system resilience, learning, and environmental education, the editors and authors contributing to this special issue have engaged in an exploration of transdisciplinary scholarship, i.e., creative scholarship that emerges through working across disciplinary boundaries and incorporates epistemological pluralism (Eigenbrode et al. 2007; Miller et al. 2008). Multiple themes and questions emerged in this transdisciplinary exploration of a social–ecological system resilience perspective on resource management, learning, and education (see Textbox 1), which are the focus of the contributions.
Textbox 1. Questions emerging from transdisciplinary scholarship linking resilience, learning, and environmental education
- How might we reconcile environmental education focused on the development of resilient learners and on fostering resilient social–ecological systems?
- What is the intersection between participatory approaches used in development and resource management (e.g., participatory action research), and participatory approaches to environmental education?
- How does traditional ecological knowledge, as well as the role of diverse forms of knowledge in education and resource management, evolve in a world with rampant urbanisation and massive displacement of rural and indigenous peoples?
- How do memories of past engagement with nature foster individual and system resilience after a crisis or conflict?
- How do education, learning, knowledge, and memories become part of information feedbacks leading to greater system resilience?
- How might social learning be linked across the individual, group, and organizational levels?
- How might environmental learning and education be linked to environmental governance?
- How might concepts from learning theory be transferred across the human development and resource management disciplines?
Background of the Special Issue
Interest in the concept of resilience has grown rapidly. From 1967 to 2007, approximately 1559 journal papers were published on the specific topic of resilience (Janssen2007). This proliferation of papers has been accompanied by several books such as Panarchy (Gunderson and Holling 2002), Navigating social–ecological systems (Berkes, Colding, and Folke 2003), Resilience thinking (Walker and Salt 2006), and Principles of ecosystem stewardship: Resilience-based natural resource management in a changing world (Chapin, Kofinas, and Folke 2009). The Resilience Alliance was established in 1999 as a research network to bring together researchers from several disciplines to explore the dynamics of social–ecological systems (www.resalliance.org). In 2008, the first major international conference dedicated to resilience (Resilience, Adaptation and Transformation in Turbulent Times) was held in Stockholm, Sweden. It aimed to ‘bring together scientists working with the complex dynamics of interconnected social–ecological systems to present, discuss, and summarise the current understanding of resilience, adaptability and pathways of transformation in such systems.’
It was while sitting around a table in a quiet corridor between sessions at the 2008 Resilience Alliance conference in Stockholm that we began to discuss how resilience adds to debates about sustainability, learning, and education. Initially we seemed an unlikely trio for this task as we have diverse backgrounds (ecology, education, and planning) and varied areas of research expertise (environmental education and civic ecology, people’s conceptions and learning about nature and society, and collaborative natural resource management). As we talked about our unique experiences, we found areas of complimentarity. It quickly became apparent that the confluence of resilience, learning, and environmental education was fertile ground worthy of cultivation by a multidisciplinary group of international scholars. While recognizing that environmental education scholars such as Sterling (2003) and Capra (1997) have addressed systems thinking, we felt that the notion of resilience in social–ecological systems had received little attention in the field, and yet it has the potential to advance environmental and sustainability education scholarship in three ways:
(1) social–ecological systems are constantly evolving in response to catastrophic and more gradual changes, and resilience scholarship adds notions about change to sustainability education perspectives (Folke et al. 2002);
(2) resilience thinking opens up questions about the relationship of learning and environmental education to contemporary scholarship in natural resources management, including that focused on coupled social–ecological systems and adaptive governance (Armitage, Berkes, and Doubleday 2007); and
(3) several attributes of resilient social–ecological systems (e.g., ecosystem services, biological and cultural diversity, social capital, multiple forms of governance; Walker and Salt 2006) are consistent with environmental education goals for individual learners (e.g., opportunities to connect with nature and community, participation in decision-making; Jensen and Schnack 1997; Louv 2006; Reid, Jensen, and Nikel 2008), and thus education for resilience has the potential to foster positive outcomes for the individual learner.
Our meeting in Stockholm was the genesis for this special issue, which explores the confluence of emerging scholarship relating to resilience, learning, and environmental education. In embarking on this exploratory journey, we have asked scholars of environmental education and natural resources management to address questions such as: What kind of environmental learning can enhance resilience at individual and institutional levels, and how would this enhance social–ecological system resilience? How might environmental education and learning taking place in secondary and higher education, in informal settings such as community participation in natural resources management, and in more formalised governance networks contribute to social–ecological system resilience? What learning, governance, and other theoretical frameworks might aid in understanding the relationships among resilience, learning, and environmental education?
Before embarking on an exploration of these questions, we briefly introduce a common minimum vernacular that is required as a foundation.
The term ‘resilience’ is used in a myriad of ways. When environmental educators think about resilience, they may first turn to the psychological resilience of children and adults who participate in environmental education programmes (cf., Luthans, Vogelgesang, and Lester 2006). In contrast, when individuals interested in social– ecological systems think about resilience, they consider the interplay between disturbance and reorganisation, contextualised by system dynamics and cross-scale interactions, and focusing on adaptive capacity, learning, and innovation (Folke 2006). The ways in which social–ecological systems, such as agricultural communities, watersheds, or cities, sustain function in the face of change, and use change to precipitate reflection, learning, and moving to a more desirable state, are of particular interest to the authors in this collection. We share Walker and Salt’s (2006) vision of what a resilient world would be like by emphasising attributes such as diversity, variability, modularity, social capital, innovation, overlap in governance, and the capacity to learn adaptively. These attributes are built up over time and allow the system to embrace change and be resilient. Further, in recognising that resilience at the individual level is important and that resilient individuals can contribute to a resilient social–ecological system, we hope to expand environmental education scholarship beyond a focus on the level of the individual to a consideration of interactions of cross-scale dynamics. A discussion of the term resilience would be incomplete without consideration of its use as a metaphor; metaphors have been used in similar cross-disciplinary explorations as tools for creating new ideas and syntheses, and to suggest how to apply ideas or approaches developed in one realm in an entirely different realm (Pickett, Cadenasso, and Grove 2004). Resilience as a metaphor across multiple levels of organisation brings to mind the ability not only to withstand or adapt to hardship but also to transform into something stronger.
The contributions to this collection draw on the disciplines of education and psychology to understand learning from various theoretical perspectives, including the constructivist and cognitive (Piaget 1926; Vosniadou 2008), sociocultural (Vygotsky 1978; Wertsch and Kanner 1992), and situated (Cobb 1994; Greeno and van de Sande 2007). More generally, we propose that learning can be seen as a process of change in the way we look upon the world – our thoughts, feelings, and actions – which is dependent on the learner, the object of learning, and the physical, biological, social, cultural, and economic situation and setting (Rickinson, Lundholm, and Hopwood 2009).
A resilience perspective shifts attention away from outcomes for individual participants to an examination of how environmental education interacts with other components of a social–ecological system. However, this shift does not mean that we ignore outcomes for individual participants. In fact, several contributors to this collection suggest ways in which education and learning can promote resilience as transformation simultaneously at the level of the individual and social–ecological system. Thus, our focus in this collection is on education for and as the environment or change, as well as education for the learner, and we include examples from diverse settings, including secondary and higher education, and natural resources management.
Although a less central focus of this special issue, governance is addressed in several papers and contributes to the discussion of education as one of a suite of practices fostering institutional and environmental change. Governance refers to systems of governing that, in addition to nation-states, encompass NGOs; networks of NGOs and government institutions at the supra-state, nation-state, and sub-state level; and their interactions (Bulkeley and Betsill 2003). Governance is particularly salient in the context of environmental issues where allocating and controlling resources go well beyond formal government institutions.
The Special Issue of the Journal
The objective of the special issue is to probe the intersections between a growing literature on resilience that seeks to explain processes at the level of social–ecological systems, with theoretical perspectives on learning and environmental education that seek to understand change and guide practice at the level of individual learners, communities, and organisations. We next introduce briefly each of the contributions.
In the first of four foundational papers to this collection, Lundholm and Plummer provide a theoretical conspectus of environmental learning and of resilience in ecology and human development. After establishing these conceptual foundations, they consider how environmental learning and resilience are coming together in a variety of environmental education contexts including formal education, organisations, and communities. The authors highlight the important potential for education in relation to multi-level connections and interdependence of knowledge and values, and observe that ‘environmental learning broadly interpreted and a dynamic view of sustainability [such as suggested by social–ecological system resilience] create an interesting and important intersection’ (476).
In a second foundational piece, Plummer traces the historical development of the term ‘social–ecological resilience’ from its roots in engineering and ecological resilience and introduces the adaptive cycle, panarchy, and other important resilience constructs, used both as discrete measures of social, physical, and biological processes, and as broad metaphors linking notions from the social and ecological sciences. He then reviews some of the challenges encountered in applying concepts developed within the context of ecology to social systems, and suggests emerging issues and implications for environmental education. In language that suggests linking participatory approaches to environmental education (e.g., Jensen and Schnack 1997; Læssøe 2010) to broader management issues and interdisciplinary scholarship, Plummer concludes that ‘the most valuable synergy between resilience and environmental education comes from the possibility of enhancing problem-solving capabilities and better enabling governance strategies. These opportunities are prime candidates for integrative and interdisciplinary collaborative efforts by resilience and environmental education researchers’ (505).
Expanding on earlier discussions of resilience at multiple levels, Sterling recommends that environmental educators look to research from the human development and social–ecological resilience literature, to find a way out of the instrumentalist/ intrinsic debate that has divided the field of environmental education for decades. This debate has experienced multiple iterations, perhaps most recently in a special issue of Environmental Education Research on participatory and democratic approaches to education from Denmark and Sweden (Læssøe 2010; Morgensen and Schnack 2010). Sterling claims that ‘these [participatory/behaviourist] positions are nevertheless compatible and further that debates around social learning and resilience (Blackmore 2007) which until recently have tended to develop virtually independently of the environmental and sustainability education discourse, offer a pathway towards reconciling various views in a more holistic and intellectually coherent framework for sustainability education’ (512). In introducing notions of transformative learning, Sterling also foreshadows a tension in several subsequent contributions between resilience as resisting change, as when systems or learners hang on to maladaptive notions and practices, and resilience as an opportunity for growth following disturbance or setbacks.
In rounding out this set of foundational papers, Löf again takes up the issue of reactive versus proactive responses to change, this time focusing on governance rather than individual actors. She presents a theoretical overview of the intentional processes of adaptation and transformation, the former referring to ‘attempted maintenance of a system’s self-reinforcing configuration,’ and the latter to ‘attempted change of a system’s self-reinforcing configuration’ (532). She also claims that: ‘Whereas resilience answers to why the adaptation–transformation distinction is important in the first place, learning provides the necessary link between the individual and system level while governance brings further insights into the different potential mechanisms available for institutionally implementing adaptation and transformation’ (529). Although Löf’s discussion is about adaptation and transformation at the level of organisations and institutions, the themes bear similarities to Sterling’s considerations of reactive and anticipatory learners, or learning at the level of individuals that leads to adaptation or maintenance of the status quo versus that which transforms the learner and propels him or her into new levels of productive activity.
Having laid these theoretical foundations, the collection next turns to examples of educational practices that reflect attributes of resilient social–ecological systems (e.g., diversity, self-organisation, innovation, Walker and Salt 2006). Krasny and Roth describe a youth environmental education programme taking place within the context of a citizen-driven watershed restoration initiative in British Columbia, Canada. Using activity theory (Engeström 1987), the authors explore how an environmental education programme can be viewed as a learning activity system that is embedded in and interacts with the larger watershed stewardship activity system. Krasny and Roth note that ‘similar to the resilience framework, activity theory incorporates a focus on complexity, change, and adaptation or expansion over time within a particular learning, practice, or SES (Berkes, Colding, and Folke 2003; Engeström 1987, 2001; Folke et al. 2002)’ (547). In nesting individual learning in the resource stewardship activity system, the authors reinforce the notion that the resilience metaphor is useful at multiple levels, this time using the activity theory framework, which early in its development attempted to link individual action and collective activity, thus foreshadowing the linking of individual learning to organisational learning and environmental governance by some of the contributors to this special issue.
In a second contribution applying theory to educational examples, Sriskandarajah et al. describe university courses from diverse contexts in four countries, including urban civic ecology in the USA, watershed management within the European Union, consumption practices in The Netherlands, and systems thinking in England. Each of the examples ‘addresses the significance of epistemic development – learning about the nature of both individual and collective worldviews, and their role in the twin processes of making sense out of situations that people commonly experience, and of taking action in ways that reflect an appreciation of the need for more responsible ways of … being-in-the-world’ (568). In bringing in notions of multiple-level learning, this piece again links concepts used at the individual and organisational levels. Through collecting and applying information from the environment and stakeholders, several of the educational programmes in this contribution also show evidence of paying attention to feedbacks, which is critical to fostering system level resilience.
The collection then moves on to a set of papers that raise questions about how knowledge is acquired, remembered, applied, and shared among adults engaged in management practice, integrating concepts from traditional ecological and indigenous knowledge that previously have been explored in the environmental education literature (O’Donoghue and Russo 2004; Reid, Teamey, and Dillon 2002, 2004; Van Damme and Neluvhalani 2004). The contribution by Shava et al. explores how displaced farmers remember and apply their experientially based agricultural knowledge in cities (USA) and resettlement communities (Zimbabwe). Whereas both the resilience and environmental education literatures have focused on indigenous or traditional knowledge of rural peoples, Shava et al. address the role of indigenous and similar forms of knowledge in current-day contexts of widespread urbanisation and conflict-related displacement. According to these authors:
Recent trends of widespread rural migration to cities (Martine 2007) and massive displacement of people due to conflict (Jennings and Birkeland 2009) point to the need for examining how people adapt and apply knowledge about agriculture gained in rural settings in urban and resettlement contexts. Should traditional forms of knowledge be retained and adapted in new settings, then they could play a role in resource management potentially fostering social and ecological resilience, and also could be incorporated into environmental education in displaced communities. Thus, in this paper, we pose the following questions: How does the knowledge of rural agricultural people persist and change when they move to urban and other resettled communities? What role might such knowledge play in social–ecological system resilience in these urban and resettlement communities? What role might such knowledge play in environmental education in these communities? (577).
Expanding on Shava et al.’s examples of the role of knowledge of specific agricultural practices, Tidball et al. speak to the importance of remembering not just how to grow plants, but also of memories of how the act of engaging in environmental stewardship activities has enhanced individual and community well-being in the past. They suggest that such memories are enacted in the practice of greening, which serves as a form of more or less spontaneous memorialisation after a disaster or conflict. Such stewardship or greening activities post-disaster provide evidence that a social–ecological system has learned to recognise feedback, or information from the social–ecological system, which, through interpretation, becomes a source of resilience. In their descriptions of the living memorials that sprouted up across the USA after 9/11, and of community forestry initiatives that emerged following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the authors argue that a ‘community of practice emerges to act upon and apply these memories to social learning about greening practices. This in turn may lead to new kinds of learning, including about collective efficacy and ecosystem services production, through a kind of feedback between remembering, learning, and enhancing individual, social, and environmental well-being. This process, in the case of greening in cities, may confer SES resilience, through contributing to both psychological–social resistance and resilience and ecosystem benefits’ (591). Further, Tidball et al. make an important contribution in answering a call for identifying social mechanisms that help to maintain system resilience. Whereas previous literature has focused on the role of traditional ecological knowledge as a social mechanism that fosters adaptation in the face of disturbance and related processes fundamental to social–ecological system resilience (Berkes and Turner 2006), Tidball et al. add the role of greening memorialisation, as evidenced in community gardening, community forestry, and similar greening initiatives following disaster or conflict, as a social mechanism to foster resilience.
Ballard and Belsky similarly take up the challenge of integrating notions about diverse and changing forms of knowledge with notions about the role of knowledge in providing feedbacks that become a source of social–ecological system resilience. More specifically, they explore these notions in the context of participatory action research, one of a family of participatory research approaches stemming from work in international development that have been applied to environmental education (Doyle and Krasny 2003; Mordock and Krasny 2001; see also, Reid, Jensen, and Nikel 2008).
This particular project engaged a university researcher, government managers, and immigrant harvesters of a non-timber forest product (salal) who gained practical knowledge through their harvesting activities in a setting in which they previously lacked experience. The project fostered ‘better understanding of impacts of different harvest methods on salal among both harvesters and land managers,’ (619) which led a federal government agency ‘to diversify management objectives beyond the historic focus on timber’ (622). Unfortunately this resource management ‘experiment’ was cut short by the imposition of more stringent immigration regulations impacting the undocumented Hispanic harvesters, demonstrating the potential for outside forces to disrupt learning and resilience-building efforts. However, this failure to achieve intended outcomes provides an opportunity to reflect on the relation of participation to larger social– political factors, a theme visited in depth in a recent Environmental Education Research article by Læssøe (2010). Further, by pointing out synergies between participatory research approaches and social–ecological system resilience, including how knowledge gained through a participatory action research project provides feedbacks about system functioning and can be used to adapt management practices, Ballard and Belsky make an important contribution to the learning and resilience literature.
In addition to exploring innovative approaches to learning among individual learners and natural resource stakeholders, resilience scholars have sought out new forms of organisational learning. Such learning is linked to emerging forms of governance that involve communities, non-governmental organisations, as well as more formal government institutions, and that contribute to processes of adaptation and change. Thus, the last two contributions to the collection build on Löf’s earlier theoretical piece to provide examples of organisational learning and environmental governance. Boyd and Osbahr address the critical issue of global climate change. In particular, these authors focus on how government agencies and NGOs are adapting to incorporate learning about global climate change, and find evidence of learning not only through formal organisational channels, but also through ‘ad hoc informal processes and shadow networks’ (629).
The final contribution by Schultz and Lundholm on biosphere reserves builds on the examples of small-scale, local adaptive co-management in the contributions by Shava, Tidball, Ballard and colleagues, to explore how learning might occur within a formalised international governance structure. The authors describe three ways in which members of this network facilitate learning; i.e., they ‘(1) provide platforms for mutual and collective learning through face-to-face interactions; (2) coordinate and support the generation of new social–ecological knowledge through research, monitoring, and experimentation; and (3) frame information and education to local stewards, resource-based businesses, policy-makers, disadvantaged groups, students, and the public’ (645). These authors link these informal and more formal opportunities for learning and education with a transnational conservation governance network, and thus suggest how environmental education may contribute beyond individual learning to environmental governance practice and policy.
Environmental education and learning may interact with management strategies and actions, and with the broader social and ecological system in a myriad of ways. In the contributions to this volume, we explore environmental education not only as a formal system targeting young and lay learners but also more broadly as a learning strategy that can be nested in adaptive co-management practice (Armitage, Marschke, and Plummer 2008; Krasny and Tidball 2009a, 2009b; Krasny, Tidball, and Sriskandarajah 2009). Just as the management and resilience literatures suggest ways to broaden our thinking about environmental education strategies, environmental education may suggest ways in which governance organisations can expand beyond informal networks of information sharing to more formal strategies aimed at enhancing environmental knowledge, changing behaviours, and developing skills needed for contributing to a democratic society.
Through our exploration of transdisciplinary scholarship in this special issue, we hope to reveal the potential for environmental education to contribute to resilience in social–ecological systems, while at the same time fostering healthy development in learners. As the contributors share their diverse perspectives on resilience, learning, and education, the ways in which resilience might add to the discussion of environmental and sustainability education pedagogy and research are illuminated. Similarly, ways in which environmental education might work in concert with management practices that seek to foster resilience emerge, as do ideas about the overlap among learning processes in resource management and environmental education. However, as in any first time effort, many of the ideas and suggestions are speculative, and need to be tested through further debate, scholarship, and research. Thus, we offer a sincere thanks to the contributors for their participation in this pioneering exploration, and also extend an invitation to readers to engage in further discussion, sharing ideas and critiques with us and the wider resilience, learning, and environmental education research and practice communities.
We thank Alan Reid for his insightful and helpful comments on the introduction and overall support for our work on this special issue. We also offer our thanks to each of the contributors, who addressed extensive comments from the editors of this special issue, the reviewers, and the editorial staff at Environmental Education Research, in producing their final papers.
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This article is the Editorial piece of the “Special Issue on Resilience in social-ecological systems: the roles of learning and education”, published in Environmental Education Research, Volume 16 (5, 6). The original is available at:
About the author
Marianne E. Krasny is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Natural Resources and Director of the Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University, USA. Her research and outreach focus on individual, social and environmental outcomes of environmental education in urban and other settings in the US and internationally.
Cecilia Lundholm is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education – where she is a member of the group on Conceptual Development – and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. Her research concerns communication, knowledge and learning of socio-economic as well as ecological phenomena in formal (education) and informal settings (natural resource management). Lundholm’s research is funded by the Swedish Research Council’s Committee for Sustainable Development and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Ryan Plummer is a Professor in the Department of Tourism and Environment at Brock Univer- sity, Canada, as well as a Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden. His research is primarily supported by a Brock University Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence, the Canadian Water Network, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He is a 2008 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Excellence in Education Award winner.