Phipps-Langlois Seminars

The Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics is happy to invite you to attend our Phipps-Langlois Seminars. All are welcome to attend these presentations.


Dr. Michael Bordt

Dr. Michael Bordt,
Senior Economic Advisor on Ocean Accounts
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Accounting for ocean sustainability, Dr. M Bordt, Senior Economic Advisor on Ocean Accounts, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, January 30, 2020, 12PM, SMD125

"Accounting for ocean sustainability” implies three distinct domains of thought: (a) “accounting” is the coherent representation of evidence; (b) the “ocean” may be considered unfathomable, but is being studied by multiple disciplines in a multitude of ways, and (c) “sustainability” is an imprecise concept often used to encourage dialogue by different range of disciplines (economic, ecology, sociology, policy, etc.). The seminar will be an opportunity to discuss these in more detail, grounded in my experience in environmental-economic accounting, including ecosystem accounting, the topic of my recent PhD research. We argue it is important to get the evidence right and to provide standard approaches to ensure it can be integrated across disciplines and over time. Marc Saner and I have explored the moral space of earth measurement and alternative metaphors for “sustainability”. We argue that a sustainability accounting approach is required to ensure the consideration of positive and negative flows between people and the environment.These have both contributed to my progress in developing a statistical framework for Ocean Accounts. This supports the provision of integrated and coherent information on the ocean to support decisions and planning for its sustainable use.

Dr. Michael Bordt has been the Senior Economic Advisor on Ocean Accounts at Fisheries and Oceans Canada since July 2019. His main role in this position is to support pilot studies on developing integrated statistics for the sustainable use of the ocean. Previously, he served as regional Advisor on Environment Statistics at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the regional headquarters of the United Nations. In this role, he has developed training materials on the UN System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA) and provided direct training and technical assistance to 20 member States on SEEA implementation. One recent area of his research has been the adaptation and expansion of the SEEA for Ocean Accounting to address SDG14. He served as Assistant Director of Statistics Canada’s Environment Accounts and Statistics Division from 2006 to 2012. He holds a PhD in Geography (Ecosystem Accounting) from the University of Ottawa (2017). He is a member of the SEEA Ecosystems Technical Committee, and founding Co-chair of the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership, of which uOttawa is a member.

Will Kochtitzky

Will Kochtitzky,
PhD student in the Laboratory for Cryospheric ResearchUniversity of Ottawa

Surging glaciers and outburst floods; connections to climate and hazards to people, Donjek Glacier, Yukon, Will Kochtitzky, PhD student, Department of Geography Environment and Geomatics, uOttawa, February 13, 2020, 12PM, SMD125 

Donjek Glacier, Yukon has undergone eight surge events since the 1930s where the glacier rapidly advances after years of stagnation. In recent decades, these advances has partially dammed the Donjek River, creating small lakes (<2.2 km2). Most recently, the 2012-2014 surge event created a lake that drained in summer 2017, and refilled and drained again in both summer 2018 and summer 2019. We used a suite of remote sensing observations to quantify the impact of surge events on the glacier area and thickness. Additionally, we show how changes in the glacier surge dynamics are impacting Donjek River and causing lakes to form.  Since 1993 the resulting glacial lake outburst floods have become more dangerous as they are occurring through or under the glacier by breaking an ice dam, compared to drainage that occurred gradually from an advancing glacier displacing the lake before the 1990s. While a lake is unlikely to form again before a surge event in the 2020s, future surges of Donjek Glacier are still likely to create terminal lakes, necessitating continued monitoring for surge activity and lake formation.

Will Kochtitzky is currently a PhD student in the Laboratory for Cryospheric Research at the University of Ottawa, supervised by Dr. Luke Copland. Will’s PhD project is focused on better understanding how and why glaciers are changing in a warming climate across North America. Will completed his B.S. degree in Earth Sciences at Dickinson College, Pennsylvania, where he completed a thesis which improved the record of ice cap change at Nevada Coropuna, Peru, to help better forecast future changes in tropical water supply. He then went onto the University of Maine as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, where he worked with Dr. Gordon Hamilton and Dr. Karl Kreutz. Will’s Master’s research focused on understanding surges of Donjek Glacier, Yukon, since the 1930s. Will joined the University of Ottawa for his PhD studies in September 2019 as a Vanier Scholar. Will’s research interests are in combining field and satellite observations to better understand glacier change around the world.


Dominique Souris

Dominique Souris,
Youth Climate Lab

Innovative Finance in addressing Climate-Induced Loss and Damage, Dominique Souris, Youth Climate Lab, February 27, 2020, 12PM, SMD125 

Significant finance and investments are required to help the world’s most vulnerable countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed countries have committed to mobilizing USD 100 billion annually by 2020. Today, it is increasingly clear these countries are far from achieving their commitments, and that the collective goal is only a fraction of the true costs of climate change. This study explores the role of innovation in unlocking climate finance for the world’s most vulnerable countries, and argues that innovative climate finance has the potential to address the gaps in climate finance commitments under the UNFCCC. It does so by highlighting three important trends. First, there is rising interest, and uncertainty, to construe innovation in the context of global climate finance governance, specifically as it relates to the nature and emerging role it is playing within the UNFCCC. Second, the innovative financing approaches of developing countries, namely Seychelles and Bangladesh, are influencing global climate governance. Third, there is strong interest in furthering the understanding of innovation in the context of climate finance, namely in identifying the key elements and barriers to progress on innovative approaches. The study highlights the opportunities, barriers and challenges for innovation in global climate finance governance.

A tireless climate activist and youth advocate, Dominique is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Youth Climate Lab (YCL), a global non-profit organization based in Canada that works to accelerate youth-led climate policy, projects and businesses. Dominique is also a World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shaper and a Board Member for the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship. She also sits on the Leadership Council for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)-Canada and Smart Prosperity’s Leaders Initiative. Dominique holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies and Master of Arts in Global Governance. In 2018, Dominique was named among the Top 25 under 25 Environmentalists in Canada and Top 100 Global Visionary Leaders as well as received the Young Alumni Award by the University of Waterloo, Canada.


Matthew Kurtz

Dr. Matthew Kurtz,
Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics
University of Ottawa

Job-Tenure among Immigrants in Canada, Matthew Kurtz, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomtics, uOttawa, March 12, 2020, 12PM, SMD125 

How does one compare apples and oranges? This kind of problem arises if one wants to compare how long highly qualified immigrants in permanent positions and similarly situated Canadian-born employees stay with a company.  Why would one want to pursue such a comparison? HR professionals in Ottawa’s larger firms have stated that immigrants tend to stay with them longer. Yet this is difficult to verify with Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, in part because adult immigrants – especially those in the Federal Skilled Worker class – tend to introduce a break in their career and their job-tenure when moving to Canada. Thus the comparison is a little like comparing apples and oranges: almost by definition, adult immigrants will show a significantly shorter job-tenure average in most any simple LFS sample. Nonetheless, this presentation outlines an original and innovative methodology designed to use eight years of LFS micro-data (2006-2013) in assessing whether highly skilled adult immigrants tend to stay with their employer longer than highly-skilled Canadian-born workers. The results suggest that they do.

Dr Matthew Kurtz is a research consultant and a part-time professor at University of Ottawa. Prior to moving to Canada, he was a full-time academic at University of Alaska and then at the Open University in Great Britain. His research interests include environmental history, the geographies of labour and finance, and genealogies of the production of economic knowledge in 20th century North America.

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