The Ring

Sustainability Week highlights cycling as a travel option

Tue, 2015-10-06 10:01

Shari Winter, campus cyclist.
Shari Winter, campus cyclist.

The deep-green hues of UVic—from research leadership in ocean and climate studies, to sustainability studies in nearly every academic field—also colours our pride in our natural spaces  and sustainable on-campus operations. But we can’t pat ourselves on the back too quickly, either. Unless we’re prepared to turn off the lights and heat on campus, cycling and transit will continue to play key roles in reducing our carbon footprint, individually and as a concerned community.

We’ve already made good strides: nearly 8,000 members of UVic’s campus community use public transit, pedal power and shoe leather in getting to and from campus every day. And despite significant enrolment growth on campus, there are fewer cars in our parking lots than there were 15 years ago. 


Field lessons in Scandanavian sustainability

Thu, 2015-10-01 09:08

HafenCity development in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: HafenCity.com
HafenCity development in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: HafenCity.com

Northern Europe is famous for sustainability—from cycling in Copenhagen, Iceland’s geothermal riches, and offshore wind farms in the North Sea to Germany’s investments in mass solar power. This spring, 28 UVic geography students headed to Europe to study those sustainability efforts and more. Their month-long field school took them to Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands brought them together with community leaders, planners, developers, scholars and others to examine Scandanavian efforts to address the daunting ecological and social challenges facing contemporary societies.


The beast within: how humans evolved into super predators

Thu, 2015-08-20 09:31

Rope trawl for midwater trawling. Photo: crew and officers of NOAA ship Miller F
Rope trawl for midwater trawling. Photo: crew and officers of NOAA ship Miller Freeman

You need not look far to find the world’s “super predator,” a term used by UVic scientists to describe how human dominance has bred an unrelenting predacious global culture that threatens nature’s balance.

Research published in the Aug. 21 edition of the journal Science by a team led by Dr. Chris Darimont, the Hakai-Raincoast professor of geography at the University of Victoria, shows how extreme human predatory behavior is responsible for widespread wildlife extinctions, shrinking fish sizes and disruptions to global food chains. 


Blue, green and hints of brown: campus water use in a dry season

Mon, 2015-07-13 11:23

Natural pond and water retention areas at First Peoples House.
Natural pond and water retention areas at First Peoples House.

The balancing act of water stewardship

Hazy skies, brown grass, forest fires across the province—it’s hard to miss the signs of an unusually dry spring and summer on Vancouver Island and across western Canada.

Such dry conditions raise questions: should we conserve water at the expense of UVic’s renowned gardens? Should we water selectively to avoid tinder-dry conditions that could create a fire hazard? And what about the bigger picture of reducing water consumption throughout the year? At UVic, this is the balancing act of water stewardship.


The roots of Canadian ecology

Tue, 2015-07-07 11:26

Field journals and slides from the Ian McTaggart Cowan archive in UVic Special C
Field journals and slides from the Ian McTaggart Cowan archive in UVic Special Collections and University Archives.

Ian McTaggart Cowan archive a living legacy for contemporary research    

The launch of a digitization project and a new archive are a providing a powerful combination of resources for ecological researchers, on and off campus. The Ian McTaggart Cowan archive, recently donated by the Cowan family to UVic Special Collections and University Archives, contains materials from McTaggart Cowan’s remarkable 75-year career as one of Canada’s foremost wildlife biologists and conservationists.  


UVic gets top marks for sustainability in Princeton Review's annual Guide to Green Colleges

Thu, 2015-05-28 15:40

The University of Victoria was given a perfect score in the 2015 edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 353 Green Colleges, an annual publication spotlighting campuses in the US and Canada with exceptional commitment to sustainability in their policies, initiatives and academic programs. 


Rain garden makes a splash for local school

Fri, 2014-12-12 10:56

Woman at water tap with elementary school kids.
Catherine Orr and Oak and Orca schoolchildren make a splash with rain garden project. Photo: Photo Services.

Landscape architect and environmental studies master’s student Catherine Orr saw her graduate project as a way to connect with a local school and a community about water and the importance of rainwater management.


Environmental Studies at 40: learning and growing a greener campus

Thu, 2014-10-02 09:28

James Rowe leads a class at Tl’eches, Discovery Island.
James Rowe leads a class at Tl’eches, Discovery Island.

From the very first plans for the Gordon Head campus, natural features have been valued as a defining force in UVic’s learning environment. And the Environmental Studies program, starting small with a single course in 1975, has grown substantially — not just alongside, but as a driver of green initiatives that have helped transform the campus into an internationally recognized leader in sustainability.

Many of the practices that helped UVic become the only Canadian university to make the Princeton Review’s 2015 Green Honour Roll sprouted from Environmental Studies course projects, student initiatives and partnerships across the institution.


Nature, meet nurture: 2014 Staff Sustainability Champion Award

Thu, 2014-04-10 09:14

Adult team members, L-R: Alishan, Yazbeck, Pickup and Wilson.
Sustainability champions, young and old. Adult team members, L-R: Alishan, Yazbeck, Pickup and Wilson. Photo: UVic Photo Svc.

The idea is simple: teach children about the importance of connecting to nature when they’re young, and they’ll grow into environmental leaders.

On March 16, Sherri-Lynn Yazbeck and her team at UVic Child Care Services were awarded the 2014 Staff Sustainability Champion Award for their environmental engagement programs. The award was presented by UVic Vice-President Finance and Operations Gayle Gorrill.

Yazbeck and her team of educators—Batool Alishan, Ann Pickup and Julia Wilson—provide nature-based learning for children aged 3-5. They promote hands-on learning for issues related to the environment and teach children the importance of environmental stewardship.


New model proposed for BC water management

Tue, 2014-03-25 14:49

A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in BC
A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in BC

The provincial government has committed to a new Water Sustainability Act by early 2014, and researchers at UVic’s POLIS Project on Ecological Governance say that BC has the potential to become a standout example for sustainable freshwater management and protection.