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 on ZOOM.

The Phipps-Langlois Seminars are back this fall with a great lineup of speakers from our Department and from the scientific community. All presentations will be on ZOOM on Thursday September 30, October 21, and on November 25 and will begin at 12H00. The ~30 minutes talk will be followed by a period for questions and exchange. 

Looking forward to seeing you in the virtual space,

Phipps-Langlois Seminars Organizing Committee


Fall 2021 Outlines and Speaker Bio.

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Dr. Katz-Rosene

Academic Flying Less Movement, Dr. Ryan Katz-Rosene, Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa's School of Political Studies, with affiliation to the Institute of Environment. September 30, 2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference.

One of the central tensions in the study of climate politics is the relationship between ‘personal responsibility’ and ‘collective action’. The tendency of some environmentalists to focus on the former at the expense of the latter has been identified as key challenge for genuine progress on climate change mitigation. In this presentation, I show how the evolution of the Academic Flying Less Movement serves as an exemplar of the way personal responsibility can in fact serve as an integral ‘first-step’ towards collective-scale change, namely through its potential role in tabling and diffusing new environmental norms which subsequently become upscaled through a dialectical process in which the movement seeks to address criticisms about its overall effectiveness. In its early days, when the Academic Flying Less Movement was a largely self-directed group of eco-conscious individuals, it could be rightly criticized for having a negligible material impact on climate change, and even for distracting attention away from "real" significant climate polluters. And yet, paradoxically, recent examples show the Academic Flying Less Movement has experienced a degree of upscaling into a mid-sized collective effort which has the potential to change the academic profession and possibly larger scales of human activity. Using theories of norm diffusion and a historical analysis of the Academic Flying Less Movement, I identify five scales of collective change which the movement could help to induce. As the movement is presently in the early stages of this diffusion process, it remains to be seen whether the new environmental norms it proposes will successfully reach larger scales of the collective. This is a presentation of co-authored research conducted with Dr. Anne Pasek of Trent University. 

Ryan Katz-Rosene is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa's School of Political Studies, with affiliation to the Institute of Environment. His work examines a range of climate policy debates (in the transport, agriculture and energy sectors, namely) through an ecological political economy lens. He lives on a family farm near Wakefield, Quebec.

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Genevieve Katherine George

Lake Colour Change in Northern Canada, Genevieve Katherien George, MSc Candidate, GEG-ENV, University of Ottawa. October 21, 2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference.

Thawing permafrost in Northern Canada can negatively impact the water quality in inland waterbodies by triggering geomorphic activity that releases sediment and organic matter downstream. Changes to the amount and kinds of particulate matter in lakes affects the optical properties of lakes and can lead to drastic lake colour change. This lake colour change spans a spectrum of different colours, the most pronounced of which is from dark clear blue to bright turquoise or brown, but the reverse and other changes have also been identified. The temporal pattern of change is equally variable, manifesting itself both as gradual change over time and abrupt change within the span of a year. In certain environments—particularly thermokarst environments—where permafrost thaw releases sediment into nearby water bodies, the change in water quality is detectable by optical sensors. Space-based monitoring of changes in water colour and quality can thus act as a proxy for identifying broad spatial and temporal trends in permafrost thaw. This study tracks changes to the optical properties of these lakes over time using vast inventory of Landsat imagery from 1984 to present, and the cloud computing power of Google Earth Engine to examine the broader trends of lake colour change in areas of Northern Canada. This workflow is flexible and can be used and applied to any region of Northern Canada to examine and track the optical change of discrete water bodies. This work will help to identify vulnerable and remote areas undergoing change.

Genevieve George is an M.Sc. candidate at the University of Ottawa, supervised by Dr. Anders Knudby. Her master's project uses Landsat imagery in the Google Earth Engine platform to study lake colour change in Northern Canada. This work is done in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada to gain a better understanding of the cumulative effects of permafrost thaw in Northern Canada. Genevieve completed her B.Sc. in Environmental Science at the University of Ottawa in 2019. October 21, 2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference.

Dr. Arthur Gill Green, Department Chair and College Professor of Environmental Geography and Geomatics, Department of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences Okanagan College, Raïss Tinmaun, Executive Director | Rohingya Human Rights Network (RHRN), Scott Stevens, Co-founder, Communications director and Global project manager, Transitional Justice Working Group , November 25, 2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference.

From left to right: Arthur Gill Green, Raïss Tinmaung and Scott Stevens.

Recent applications of geoscience and geospatial technologies to human rights issues have helped document crimes against humanity and war crimes, document cultural landscapes under threat, and reveal evidence of possible areas of mass graves. At the same time, this applied research has revealed exciting new research frontiers for geographers. In this panel, we examine case studies of geoscience approaches and geospatial technologies being used by refugee organisations, academic researchers, and human rights documenters in Myanmar and North Korea. In Rakhine state, the Burmese government has perpetrated an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya people. Without on-the-ground access, geospatial technology helps documenters locate sites to identify victims, support truth-seeking and memorialization efforts, and collect documentation of crimes against humanity. In North Korea, the Transitional Justice Working Group has worked satellite imagery and GIS technology during interviews with North Korean escapees to geolocate sites of state-sanctioned killing, where the dead are disposed of by the state, and official locations which may contain documents or other evidence related to these events. Geographical mapping of sites connected to human rights abuses often uses open source investigation (OSINT) techniques to provide important information about patterns of killing and burial that are often not visible in individual interviewee testimonies and allows documentation of historically important cultural landscapes. During this seminar we will use a structured set of questions to talk about the challenges, potential, and lessons learned in these processes.

Arthur Gill Green
Department Chair and College Professor of Environmental Geography and Geomatics, Department of Geography, Earth, and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Green is a geospatial scientist with expertise in environmental governance and human rights issues. He is also an open education advocate and a consultant with over 20 years experience leading projects on forensic geospatial science, Sustainability & GIScience curriculum development, and agricultural land management. Green’s research includes GIScience applications for human rights projects - primarily, spatial statistics, remote sensing analyses, and the design of forensic data acquisition and management systems.
Twitter: @greengeographer

Raïss Tinmaung
Executive Director | Rohingya Human Rights Network (RHRN)

Raïss is a Rohingya from Toronto, and originally from Akyab (Sittwe). He is the founder and director of Rohingya Human Rights Network (RHRN). He has led campaigns, petitions, peaceful rallies, and new chapter formations of RHRN across Canada. His writings have been published in several newspapers including the Toronto Star, Le Soleil, Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, The Hill Times, Free Malaysia Today, etc. Following the 2017 massacre of the Rohingya, Raïss spent 1 month at the refugee camps; after which he presented at the Canadian Senate, as well as at the House of Commons. Raïss is an Aerospace Systems Engineer by profession, but his passion lies in development work on the grounds - he has lived and volunteered in long term development projects in South America, the Carribean, Southern Africa, and the Middle East. Apart from leading the Rohingya Human Rights Network, Raïss also leads a network of schools and vocational training centers at the Rohingya refugee camps and villages.
Contact: |
Twitter: @rohingyanetwork

Scott Stevens
Scott Stevens is a co-founder of the Transitional Justice Working Group where he serves as the communications director and global project manager. TJWG’s global human rights documentation knowledge sharing initiative, Access Accountability, connects grassroots human rights documenters to experts and practitioners in documentation methodology, international law, forensic science, data science, advocacy, and technology to support accountability efforts in contexts of grave human rights abuse.
Twitter: @TJWG_AA

November 25, 2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference.

Winter 2021 Outlines and Speaker Bio.

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Celeste Digiovanni, PhD Candidate, GEG-ENV

“Consulted to death”: Personal stress as a major barrier to environmental co-management., Celeste Digiovanni, PhD Candidate, GEG-ENV, uOttawa, January 28, 2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference

Co-management is widely seen as a way of improving environmental governance and empowering communities. When successful, co-management enhances the validity and legitimacy of decision-making, while providing stakeholders with influence over processes and outcomes that directly impact them. However, our research with participants in co-management across several cases leads us to argue that many of the individuals who contribute to co-management are subject to significant personal stress arising from both the logistical and social/emotional demands of participation in these processes. We argue that the literature on co-management has touched on this only indirectly, and that personal stress is a major challenge for participants that ought to be integrated into research agendas and addressed by policy-makers. In this article, we review the contours of the personal stress issue as it has appeared in our observations of co-management events and interviews with participants. While these findings are partial and preliminary, we argue that personal stress has theoretical and practical significance to the broader literature and process design. We conclude the article with recommendations for participants, researchers and policy-makers about how to consider and respond to problems of personal stress. (Young et al. (2020)“Consulted to death”: Personal stress as a major barrier to environmental co-management. Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 254.

Celeste Digiovanni is a second-year PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics. She completed her Master’s degree at the University of Ottawa in Environmental Sociology. She is the founder of H2Ottawa in partnership with the University of Ottawa’s Office of Campus Sustainability. The H2Ottawa program was conceived when Celeste realized that there was an opportunity to increase the sustainability and accessibility to portable water on campus. She received the support from the University of Ottawa and its Faculties to pilot a project where she sold reusable water bottles in the same spaces one would expect to find single-use water bottles and for the same price. Her interests in water issues expanded into the management of Canadian fisheries. Celeste was selected to work on a community engagement project where she studied the co-management style management of fisheries on Vancouver Island’s western coast. Upon interrogating these processes, Celeste found herself intrigued by the ancillary outcomes of co-management arrangements. Celeste is also employed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Indigenous Reconciliation where she uses her expertise to uncover formal commitments to co-management as written through Modern Treaties. Celeste’s research focuses on knowledge mobilization, environmental sustainability, indigenous rights, and science policy in Canada.

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Dr. Vern Singhroy, P.Eng.

Radarsat Constellation Mission: Opportunities for infrastructure monitoring, Dr. Vern Singhroy, P. Eng., February 25, 2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference

Canada launched RADARSAT1 in 1995 and RADARSAT 2 in 2008. The RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) was launched on June 12th, 2019. RCM consists of three identical C-band radar satellites flying in a constellation. RCM will provide complete coverage of Canada's land and oceans offering daily revisits of nearly all of the globe. The main objective of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission is to meet Government of Canada User Department's needs and requirements for Maritime Surveillance, Disaster Management, Ecosystem Monitoring and Northern Development. The rapid revisit time of a particular area from RCM will allow the monitoring and measuring of millimetre land motion every 4 days using radar interferometric techniques (InSAR). Recent research has shown that satellite radar interferometry techniques are increasingly being used for monitoring rates of land movement triggered by geohazards floods, climate change etc. There is an increasing interest in these innovative monitoring technologies by the geospatial and geotechnical communities. The InSAR monitoring techniques are also becoming more widespread and reliable with rapid improvements in image processing, the availability of coherent ground targets and the more frequent revisits of radar satellites. This presentation will focus on selective case studies and future research directions within and outside Canada to demonstrate the potential of InSAR for monitoring critical energy and transportation corridors and infrastructure.

Vern Singhroy is an internationally recognized expert on radar remote sensing applications. He was the chief scientist at the Canada Centre of Remote Sensing of the Canadian Space Agency, RADARSAT Constellation Mission, launched in June 2019. Vern received his Ph.D. in environmental and resource engineering from the State University of New York, Syracuse. He is a professional engineer. Dr. Singhroy published over 250 papers in scientific journals, proceedings, and books. He was the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, and he is the co-editor of four books, including of the Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing. He recently edited a book published by Springer in January 2021 on Advanced Remote Sensing for Infrastructure Monitoring. Dr. Singhroy has been a Professor of Earth Observation at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France and he is an adjunct professor in Planetary and Space Sciences at the University of New Brunswick. Vern received the prestigious Gold Medal Award from the Canadian Remote Sensing Society and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadian and international remote sensing applications and education.

Photo Abigail Dalton

Abigail Dalton, PhD Candidate, GEG-ENV

Glacier Velocities for the Prince of Wales Icefield from 2009 to 2019 , Abigail Dalton, PhD Candidate, March 25,  2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference

The Prince of Wales Icefield is located on SE Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Four tidewater glaciers accounted for ~83% of total ice discharge from Prince of Wales Icefield as a whole in 2019: Trinity, Wykeham, Cadogan, and Ekblaw. Since 2000, Trinity and Wykeham Glaciers have consistently accelerated and as of 2019, Trinity flows at a rate during winter of ~1200 m a-1 and Wykeham at a rate of ~800 m a-1. When these ice velocities are combined with measured ice thicknesses, they show that Trinity and Wykeham Glaciers contribute ~50% of total ice discharge from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (1.602 Gt a-1), compared to ~22% (0.55 Gt a-1) in 2000. Cadogan Glacier has exhibited a general increase in velocity since 2015 while Ekblaw Glacier has been identified as ‘pulse-type’, and is characterized by multi-year phases of acceleration and deceleration in the lowermost portion of the glacier. All four glaciers have undergone terminus retreat between 1959 and 2015, meaning that total mass loss is probably greater than current estimates suggest. The dominance of fluctuations of single glaciers in terms of mass loss via discharge suggests these glaciers are responding to external forces. In this study we applied speckle tracking to >200 pairs of co-registered Radarsat-2 scenes to derive winter surface velocities for the main outlets from the icefield between 2009 and 2019. Given their regional importance, ongoing work will combine the dense record of surface velocities with ice flux, basal/surface topography, and terminus position to investigate the processes driving ice discharge and velocity changes in the region.

Abigail Dalton is a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa, co-supervised by Dr. Luke Copland and Dr. Wesley Van Wychen. Her research aims to determine the processes controlling iceberg production from tidewater glaciers on the Prince of Wales Icefield, SE Ellesmere Island. Her work will also provide a comprehensive survey of iceberg characteristics and drift in Canadian waters, and identify potential risks associated with glacial hazards for vessels operating in the Eastern Canadian Arctic.


Dr, Vik Pant, Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor, Natural Resources Canada

Supporting Science and Policy Integration through Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, Dr. Vik Pant, Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor, Natural Resources Canada, April 22, 2021, 12PM, Zoom Conference

Across Canada, NRCan scientists and researchers are creatively applying innovative digital solutions to support sustainable development and the competitiveness of Canada’s natural resource sector. This talk will showcase the acceleration of Digital Innovation using Data Science and AI to support policy design and implementation.

Dr. Vik Pant is responsible for providing strategic direction to build capacity within NRCan’s scientific community, promoting a departmental vision for S&T and assessment of future needs. This involves leadership in developing and advancing S&T priorities, providing strategic policy advice on horizontal science issues and opportunities to ensure strong linkages between science and policy communities, and promoting effective engagement of S&T activities.  Vik is responsible for accelerating the creative application of innovative digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence, to enhance NRCan’s ability to conduct research and analysis, as well as provide evidence-based policy advice that is supported by advanced analytical techniques. Vik works with counterparts from other science-based organizations to ensure that the management of federal policy and research activities support and align with Government of Canada priorities.  Vik earned a doctorate from the Faculty of Information (iSchool) in the University of Toronto, a master's degree in business administration with distinction from the University of London, and a master's degree in information technology from Harvard University, where he received the Dean’s List Academic Achievement Award. His research, featured in numerous peer-reviewed journals and refereed international conferences, focuses on the conceptual modelling of strategic coopetition in complex multi-agent systems.  Vik joined NRCan from the MaRS Discovery District, a technology start-up accelerator in Toronto, where he was a Senior Technical Advisor of Applied Artificial Intelligence. Prior to that, he held progressively strategic positions in leading software enterprises including Oracle, SAP and Open Text.

Winter 2020 Outlines and Speaker Bio.


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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