2012: Year of Water

The Oil Sands:  Economic Saviour or Environmental Disaster?  

The Dilemma of Controlling Cultural Eutrophication

David W Schindler

Dr. David Schindler
Dr. David Schindler

Hynes Memorial Lecture: Thursday, 15 November, 7 pm, Hazen Hall Lecture Theatre, UNB Saint John, “The Oil Sands:  Economic Saviour or Environmental Disaster?” Dr. Schindler examines the pros and cons, benefits and trade-offs of Canada’s largest natural resources industry. 

Science Lecture: Friday, 16 November, 3 pm, J. Harper Kent Auditorium at the Wu Conference Centre, UNB Fredericton, “The Dilemma of Controlling Cultural Eutrophication.”  This lecture, which is also open to the public,  will focus on the decline of the oxygen rate in water, caused by humans, which has serious consequences for aquatic life.

The Hynes Memorial Lecture presented by the Canadian Rivers Institute with Dr. David W Schindler, professor of Integrative Biology, University of Alberta.

David Schindler is Killam Memorial Chair and Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. From 1968 to 1989, he founded and directed the Experimental Lakes Area of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans near Kenora, Ontario, conducting interdisciplinary research on the effects of eutrophication, acid rain, radioactive elements and climate change on boreal ecosystems. His work has been widely used in formulating ecologically sound management policy in Canada, the USA and in Europe.

His current research interests include the study of fisheries management in mountain lakes, the biomagnification of organochlorines in food chains, effects of climate change and UV radiation on lakes, and global carbon and nitrogen budgets. 

Dr. Schindler teaches limnology (the study of inland waters), the philosophy, sociology and politics of science/science and public policy in Canada, and environmental decision making.

David Schindler will deliver the 2012 Hynes Memorial Lecture on Thursday, November 15 at UNB Saint John.  The lecture is open to the public, free of charge.  

Art Exhibition: Water, Photographs by Thaddeus Holownia

ThaddeusWhen: September 14 – October 29, 2012

Where: UNB Art Centre, Memorial Hall, UNB Fredericton

Official Opening: September 21, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., all are welcome

Artist's Talk: October 5, 7:00 p.m. Thaddeus and noted writer Harry Thurston discuss their award-winning collaborations. 

Thaddeus Holownia, RCA, celebrated New Brunswick photographer and professor of fine arts at Mount Allison University, presents a selection of works from his various series on waterscapes of Atlantic Canada.  

Visit his website

Water World: How Climate Change and Resource Extraction Will Impact Water Use

A Lecture by David McLaughlin, former President and CEO of the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. 

When: Thursday, October 11, 7:30 p.m.

Where: J. Harper Kent Auditorium, Wu Conference Centre, UNB Fredericton.

Check out his lecture poster

David McLaughlinWater is the essence of life on our planet.  The health of the world’s ecosystems depends on it. This summer we have experienced near record drought conditions in many parts of the world. Most of the planet is water but it seems scarcer than ever.

Yet, Canada and New Brunswick are awash with water…aren’t we?  We have nothing to worry about…right?

Growing the economy and feeding hungry populations demands increasing amounts of water. To extract natural resources to power that growth and create fertile lands for farming and food production means more water, not less. But as our economy grows and energy use with it, so too does the amount of carbon emissions pumped into the atmosphere. That is bringing increasing evidence of climate change with shifts in established weather patterns, unpredictable often violent storms, record temperatures and melting Arctic sea ice. Uncertainty has become the new normal. 

So, what does this mean to our expectations of future water availability and use? Will we need to conserve more and use less? What about big resource companies and their need for water to extract natural wealth from the earth that creates jobs and growth?  Do we even know the value of ecosystems that could be facing new and different stresses than ever before? Will access to water become conflict over water? Can water, as a public good, ever be reconciled with the economics of private gain? Finally, what public policy solutions can we look to?

David is the last President and CEO of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, Canada’s only independent public policy agency with a mandate from Parliament to advise on sustainable development. Controversially eliminated in the last federal budget, David’s talk will draw upon the Round Table’s original research and his unique experience at both the federal and provincial levels of government, in the public service as a deputy minister and in politics as a chief of staff. An advisor to prime ministers and premiers, David’s presentation will add perspective on UNB’s water program series.

Sink or Swim? - Chasing Water Security in Changing Climates

David Grey

Lecture 1

When: Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. 

Where: Ganong Hall Lecture Theatre, UNB Saint John

Lecture 2

When: Thursday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m. 

Where: J. Harper Kent Auditorium, Wu Conference Centre, UNB Fredericton

Lecture poster

David Grey

Description: Achieving basic water security – ensuring tolerable water-related risks to society by both harnessing the productive potential of water and limiting its destructive impacts - has been a constant struggle since the origins of human society. Rapid change in the 21st century – in populations, economies, geopolitics and climate – will make achieving water security by countries that are currently water-insecure more difficult, and could threaten the water security of long-secure nations. We will look at countries that have achieved water security and those that have not, as well as more complex cases involving international watercourses.  As global society chases water security in changing climates, how do we ensure that ‘we swim and do not sink’?

David Grey is Visiting Professor of Water Policy at Oxford University at the School of Geography and Environment and an Honorary Visiting Professor in the Department of Politics at Exeter University in the UK.  A former staff member of the World Bank, with oversight responsibility for the Bank’s global water agenda, he is currently a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water Security. He is a practitioner with nearly 40 years of experience working on water-related issues (and living) in many countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.  In addition to developing inter-disciplinary water security research networks and teaching agenda at universities, he is engaged in water issues around the world, in particular supporting and facilitating cooperation on major international river basins in Africa, Asia and the Middle East..


Kim Sturgess

Tuesday April 10, 7:30PM at the Wu Conference Centre, UNB Fredericton: Water Security: Global Problem, Local Solutions by Kim Sturgess

The demand for water around the world will increase dramatically over the next 25 years driven by population growth and the accompanying demand for increasing food production. Changing climate patterns suggest that Canada and particularly the Prairies will be one of the few places in the world able to increase food production. The tension between water use for agriculture and for energy production will continue to increase challenging water managers and politicians to improve practices and transparency in water use. The trade-offs between food production, energy generation, water for people and water for the environment are driven by local concerns, complicating development of water policy across regions in Canada.  Collaboration is key to meeting the water needs of all.

Kim Sturgress

Marq de Villiers 

Thursday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harper Kent Auditorium, Wu Conference Centre, UNB Fredericton:
A conversation with award-winning writer Marq de Villiers, author of the groundbreaking Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource.

Marq De Villiers

Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Thursday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Dunstan’s Church, corner of Regent and Brunswick streets, Fredericton:
Sheila Watt-Cloutier
, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and citizen advocate on Arctic climate change, speaks on Everything is Connected: Environment, Economy, Foreign Policy, Sustainability, Human Rights and Leadership in the 21st Century. Presented in partnership with the St. John River Society and co-sponsored by the Royal Society of Canada.


RSC logo

Maude Barlow

Thursday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harper Kent Auditorium, Wu Conference Centre, UNB Fredericton: 
Maude Barlow
, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, speaks on The Global Water Crisis and the Challenge for Canadians.


Past Highlights:

David Schindler’s lecture *Due to technical difficulties at UNB, this video link is to an identical lecture given in 2012 at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. [Video]

Download David McLaughlin's presentation Water World: How Climate Change and Resource Extraction Will Impact Water Use [PPT] [PDF w/o notes] [PDF w/ notes]

Watch David Grey's talk 'Sink or Swim? - Chasing Water Security in Changing Climates' [Video]

Maude Barlow talks about The Global Water Crisis and the Challenge for Canadians [Video]

Award-winning author Marq De Villiers discusses what's gotten better, what's gotten worse in the decade since he wrote Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource. [Video]

Kim Sturgess, CEO of Alberta WaterSMART, presents an overview of global water issues and the local policies that can help to address them. [Video]