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Despite having to rapidly switch from in-person to online learning, students in the course ENV337 – Human Interactions with the Environment were able to put together a collection of multimedia materials related to World Water Day, which is celebrated on March 22nd. Taught by Sessional Lecturer Carlos Avendano, the original plan was to screen the videos during a lecture parallel to calculating their water footprint as part of a tutorial report. “This class of 2020 confirms once again the  energy, strength, creativity and resilience that students have. In ENV337, we learn about resilience: The capacity of a living system to  maintain its identity and functionality and the face of disturbances. Times of crisis can bring out the best of people, and I am a witness to it,” says Avendano. Read more and view the videos, brochures and infographics.
Undergraduate students Eric Lin and Haoying Shen created a computer simulation showing the effectiveness of social distancing and isolation at curbing the spread of COVID-19 as part of a School of the Environment research project under the Faculty of Arts and Science's Research Opportunity Program. “We wanted to show how increasing the number of vaccinated individuals could slow or stop the spread of a disease,” says Lin. The students used simulation software named COBWEB that was developed by Professor Brad Bass. COBWEB is designed to simulate a wide variety of phenomena in which “agents” interact in diverse ways. “The model is also highly useful in showing the importance of social distancing and isolation,” says Shen. Read the full article.
News

Professor Kimberly Strong, chair of the Department of Physics and former director of the School, is featured in Canadian Geographic on what the closure of the ozone hole signals about climate change. 
(Image: NASA/Ozonewatch)
Professor Miriam Diamond was quoted in the Toronto Star on how the economic slowdown is an opportunity to reset our environmental priorities and on why now is the time to reset our focus on climate change. She also spoke on Breakfast Television on how the pandemic has helped reduce air pollution, and on CTV News about the importance of Earth Day.

Professor Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, dean of the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University and former director of the School, wrote an op-ed in the National Observer on the importance of keeping our moral compass through the COVID-19 pandemic.
FACULTY PUBLICATIONS
Professor Hui Peng's group was published in the prestigious journal Environmental Science and Technology. Their paper Nontarget Screening of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Binding to Human Liver Fatty Acid Binding Protein was also highlighted by Chemical Watch. 

 
Professor Douglas Macdonald recently published Carbon Province, Hydro Province: The Challenge of Canadian Energy and Climate Federalism. The premise is that neither Ottawa alone or the provinces alone can effectively reduce Canadian total greenhouse gas emissions. On May 12, 3-5 PM, join the webinar followed by questions and discussion, including the issue of how the current pandemic is reshaping Canadian climate-change politics.
Professor John Robinson has co-authored, with David MaggsSustainability in an Imaginary World - Art and the Question of Agency The book explores the social agency of art and its connection to complex issues of sustainability. It goes in search of a way forward, proposing a theory of art aiming to preserve the integrity of arts practices within transdisciplinary mandates. 
 
Professor Scott Prudham's chapter on The social metabolism of Karl Polanyi’s fictitious nature is included in the recent publication of Market/Place, Exploring Spaces of Exchange. This collection of new essays rediscovers the physical space that markets inhabit and explore how the impact of political, social and economic factors determine the shape of a particular market space.
ALUMNI HIGHLIGHT

Congratulations to Alice (Xia) Zhu (pictured above), a first-year Ph.D. candidate in Professor Chelsea Rochman’s lab, who was recently awarded the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Alice graduated from the School in 2017 with a Hons. BSc specializing in environmental chemistry. Valued at $50,000 per year for three years during doctoral studies, the Vanier Scholarship considers three equally weighted selection criteria: academic excellence, research potential, and leadership. Alice’s research aims to fill a major gap in the plastic pollution literature by quantifying the amount of plastic residing in major accumulation zones including coastlines, animals, and various parts of the ocean. “I aim to conduct a mesocosm study to better understand the transport of plastic in the ocean, and I hope to better quantify input of plastic to the ocean via rivers,” says Zhu. “The Vanier Scholarship will help greatly with my projects and open opportunities for travel to conduct research abroad. It truly is an honour to be awarded this scholarship.”

If you have any feedback regarding the School of the Environment newsletter, please contact Kiran Champatsingh at kiran.champatsingh@utoronto.ca.
 
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