New Publications, Fall 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009 11:00:00 AM

Publication News

AMRITA DANIERE, Mike Douglass (eds.) 2008. The Politics of Civic Space in Asia: Building Urban Communities. Routledge Contemporary Asia Series, 256 pages.
This book explores how and why civic spaces are used by different communities in Asia and what role urban governance and public participation play in the support or demise of communities. Using case studies of contemporary city life throughout, the contributors provide insights into the importance and value of civic space, arguing that civic spaces provide not only the physical sites for civil society to function autonomously; but also provide a sense of place in the form of identity, meaning, memory, history and linkages with the wider world. Each chapter focuses on the production of and access to civic spaces in a particular Asian city, as well as examples of successes and failures that can inform urban policy regarding inclusive, tolerant and socially vibrant city life through focused attention on the provision and continuity of civic space. This book is designed to provide information to policymakers, researchers and students of the developing world regarding the importance and value of civic space in terms of creating and supporting urban communities. As such, The Politics of Civic Space in Asia will be an invaluable resource for those interested in urban planning, urban design, public policy and political science, as well as Asian studies more generally.

Amrita Daniere ( is a Professor and Chair, Department of Geography, University of Toronto Mississauga.  She is also a graduate faculty member at the Centre for Environment.
Michael Douglass is the Executive Director of the Globalization Research Center and Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning at University of Hawaii Manoa.(

PIERRE DESROCHERS and Hiroko Shimizu. 2008. "Yes We Have No Bananas: A Critique of the Food Mile Perspective". Mercatus Policy Series, Policy Primer No. 8, October 2008.  Mercatus Center at George Mason University. 16 pages.
As modern food production and distribution becomes ever more complex and globalized, a "buy local" food movement has arisen. This movement argues that locally produced food is not only fresher and better tasting, but it is also better for the environment: Because locally produced food does not travel far to reach your table, the production and transport of the food expend less energy overall. The local food movement has even coined a term, "food miles," to denote the distance food has traveled from production to consumption and uses the food miles concept as a major way to determine the environmental impact of a food. This Policy Primer examines the origins and validity of the food miles concept. The evidence presented suggests that food miles are, at best, a marketing fad that frequently and severely distorts the environmental impacts of agricultural production. At worst, food miles constitute a dangerous distraction from the very real and serious issues that affect energy consumption and the environmental impact of modern food production and the affordability of food. The course of the debate over food miles is nonetheless instructive for policy makers. It highlights the need to remain focused on the issues that are important-in this case, the greenhouse gas emissions of highly subsidized first-world agriculture, the trade imbalances that prevent both developed and developing countries from realizing the mutual benefits of freer trade, biofuel subsidies, and third world poverty. With the population of the planet growing rapidly, numerous food-policy issues other than food miles should preoccupy policy makers.

A free download is available at  

Pierre Desrochers ( is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, U of T Mississauga and has taught JGE1609H Cites, Industry and the Environment, a joint Dept. of Geography and Centre for Environment course.
Hiroko Shimizu is an economic consultant and free-lance writer.

PAUL MULDOON, Alastair Lucas, Robert Gibson, and Peter Pickfield. 2009. An Introduction to Environmental Law and Policy in Canada,
Emond Montgomery Publications, 258 pages.
Through a candid discussion of the current laws that govern Canada's environment and natural resources, An Introduction to Environmental Law and Policy in Canada presents the real story behind many of the environmental headlines of the day. The book opens with a review of the Canadian Constitution, the history of Canadian environmental law, and an overview of specific regulatory structures, including air, water, energy, and pesticides. The authors then examine more integrated approaches to environmental law - such as environmental assessment, land management, and corporate incentives - and review environmental rights and the role of the community in the policy-making process. The final section provides readers with different perspectives on the future of Canadian environmental law. An Introduction to Environmental Law and Policy in Canada is a straightforward examination of the fundamental issues surrounding environmental law at both the federal and provincial levels.
Paul Muldoon is Vice Chair, Environmental Review Tribunal, Government of Ontario.  He is also Adjunct Professor and teaches ENV422H/1701H Environmental Law at the Centre for Environment, U of T.
Alastair Lucas is a Dean and Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary.
Robert Gibson is Professor, Department of Environment and Resource Studies, University of Waterloo.
Peter Pickfield is a lawyer at Garrod Pickfield LLP in Guelph.

Cleaning up the dangerous contaminants -- dry-cleaning fluids, solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons -- found in underground water presents one of the most urgent challenges facing environmental science. A report issued in 20091 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sheds light on a new way to monitor and improve the success of cleanup efforts using a technique developed at the University of Toronto.
    "The most common method to clean up groundwater is biodegradation -- using microbes to consume the contaminants and break them down into more benign end products that are not harmful to the environment," said U of T geochemist Barbara Sherwood Lollar, the scientist who initiated the concept and goals for the EPA report and is one of its five international authors.
     The report outlines how cleanup can be done using a novel technique called compound specific isotope analysis, developed in U of T's Stable Isotope Laboratory, located in the Department of Geology. The elements of carbon that form the basis for the hydrocarbon contaminants actually come in two types called isotopes, explains Sherwood Lollar. "When microbes degrade contaminants, they prefer the lighter isotope carbon 12 over the heavier isotope carbon 13. The resulting change in the ratio of these isotopes in the contaminant itself is a dramatic and definitive indicator that the biodegradation is successfully taking place."
     Beginning in the 1990s, U of T's Stable Isotope Laboratory became an international pioneer in discovering how different carbon isotopes can be used to identify whether or not biodegradation is taking place. "Today, dozens of students in Canada have been trained in this method, drawn in by the fascinating combination of fundamental research that has important applications such as the clean-up of drinking water," said Sherwood Lollar. Over the past decade, as the new technique has become more widespread, centres for research and education -- and even private companies - have blossomed worldwide.

(This is an edited excerpt from an article found at

1 Daniel Hunkeler, Rainer U. Meckenstock, Barbara Sherwood Lollar, Torsten C. Schmidt, John T. Wilson. 2009. A Guide for Assessing Biodegradation and Source Identification of Organic Ground Water Contaminants using Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA). Environmental Protection Agency. 66 pages.
A free download of the report is available at:

For more information, please visit:;

Barbara Sherwood Lollar is a Professor in the Department of Geology and holds a Canada Research Chair Tier I (Isotope Geochemistry of the Earth and the Environment).  She is also a graduate faculty member at the Centre for Environment.
Daniel Hunkeler is Director of Research, Center of Hydrogeology, University of Neuchâtel, , Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
Rainer U. Meckenstock is director, Institute of Groundwater Ecology, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany.
Torsten C. Schmidt, Professor and Chair, Instrumental Analysis Chemistry, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany.
John T. Wilson is with the National Risk Management Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ada, Oklahoma, USA.

BOB WILLARD.  2009. The Sustainability Champion's Guidebook: How to Transform your Company. 
New Society Publishers. 144 pages.
Alumnus Bob Willard has recently published a guidebook that helps sustainability champions at any level in a company lead a transformation to a smarter, more successful, and more sustainable enterprise.  The Sustainability Champion's Guidebook outlines the transformational steps to take, tips and techniques to use, and derailers to avoid.  Bob Willard's previous books, The Sustainability Advantage (2002) and The Next Sustainability Wave (2005) provide a financially relevant, compelling business case on why smart business executives embrace sustainability. Building on that expertise and on his previous books, in his new book he distils lessons learned about cultural transformation and provides guidance on how to imbed sustainability into corporate cultures.  Bob Willard retired from his senior management position at IBM to pursue his commitment to sustainable development.  He then completed a MEd in 2000 and Ph.D. in 2005 from OISE/UT and the Centre for Environment's collaborative environmental studies program.

For more information on Bob Willard, please visit: