2015 edition

The 5th edition of the McGill Sustainability Symposium, “Closing the Loop”, was held March 13th, 2015. A big thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, and organizing committee for a great event! Scroll down for a recap of the 2015 edition.

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2015 speakers

Katja Neves, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Concordia University 
Katja Neves initiated her career as an invited Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Institute of Anthropology, University of Heidelberg, in Germany. She is currently Associate Professor of Sociology of the Environment and Social Sustainability at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. Dr. Neves holds two research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada, to investigate the contemporary reinvention of botanical gardens as agents of social and ecological biodiversity conservation.  This research builds on Dr. Neves’ earlier scholarly output on neoliberal conservation and on socio-ecological sustainability, which has featured in top-rated journals. Her earlier research was financed by the Fonds Quebecois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (Quebec), and Concordia University.

Dr. Neves’ current SSHRC projects have unveiled a major historical paradigmatic shift in the global governance, hegemonic understanding, and practice of biodiversity conservation. Whereas from the late 1980s onwards neoliberal biodiversity conservation tended to manage humans and non-humans as two dichotomous spheres in need of “reconciliation”, botanic gardens approach social and ecological sustainability as two inextricably connected dimensions of biodiversity conservation. Dr. Neves’ findings demonstrate that from this perspective, embracing social roles such as integration, food security, social justice and equity is as important as engaging with plant ecology and plant management.  This contrasts with the “fortress conservation” approach of the hegemonic neoliberal conservation model that predominated in Africa throughout the 1990s resulting in the eviction of local people from local ecosystems. Dr. Neves’ findings also suggest that the aforementioned transformations reflect a much wider transformation in global and national socio-ecological governance. These challenge extant theorization.

Paul Lanoie, Professor, Department of Applied Economics, HEC Montréal
Paul Lanoie is currently a professor of economics at HEC Montreal. He holds a M.Sc. in management from HEC Montreal and a Ph.D. in economics from Queen’s University. Since 1992, he teaches mainly courses in the area of sustainable development and environmental economics. In particular, he has regularly taught this topic to managers in the energy sector in Mexico, Algeria and China. He has also coauthored more than 50 academic articles published in leading journals like Academy of Management Perspectives, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and Ecological Economics. His research focuses on the various impacts of environmental policies on firms, and on the different ways firms can reconcile their environmental and financial performances. He has occupied various administrative positions at HEC Montreal: Editor of L’Actualité économique, director of the economics department, director of the bachelor in business administration program, director of sustainable development and director of academic affairs.

2015 Sponsors

Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences • Department of Geography • Office for Science and Society • Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management • Post-Graduate Students’ Society •Arts Undergraduate Society of McGill • Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED) • Faculty of Science • McGill Undergraduate Geography Society • McGill School of Environment • Geographic Information Centre

2015 Organizing committee

Lorna Harris, Project leader 

Camille Ouellet Dallaire, VP Academic 

Rachel Dryden, VP Discussion 

Larissa Jarvis, VP Communications

Caitlin Watt, Undergraduate coordinator 

Melissa Ward, VP Logistics 

Anna Luz, Communications 

Evan Berry, Undergraduate coordinator

Kate Trincsi, VP Finance

Natalie Huey, Undergraduate coordinator 


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