A. John Sinclair's research while affiliated with University of Manitoba and other places

Publications (102)

Chapter
In this chapter, we contextualize meaningful public participation in relation to next-generation IA, describe its key features, principles and benefits, and canvas innovative and promising approaches and tools for achieving such participation.
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report reveals vast evidence of increasing climate variability and a higher frequency and intensity of extreme events. Vulnerable regions to such disturbances have been widely studied in some areas, but considerably less is known about other vulnerable regions that are key to global cli...
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Rural communities are among the most vulnerable to extreme climatic events but usually have context-specific knowledge on strategies to overcome impacts. We have used the Community-Based Adaptations (CBA) lens to explore how Brazilian Amazon communities have responded to extreme flooding in the last decade. Using a variety of data collection method...
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The world now has decades of experience with impact assessment and most assessment regimes have undergone revision over time. A positive consequence of the debates about these revisions is a rich base of experiential evidence about IA successes and failures, apparent core requirements, best practices and promising innovations. We have been working...
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This paper investigates learning occurring through cross-cultural collaboration and how learning processes and outcomes of such learning affect the governance of regional lands and resources in the context of a First Nation-industry partnership in northwestern Ontario, Canada. We use transformative learning theory as a basis for critically analyzin...
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This research examined solid waste management on First Nations communities in western Canada to provide information and insight into programs, practices, policies, and activities, as well as to help bridge an identified gap related to these in the literature. Utilizing a qualitative case study approach, we examined twelve First Nations communities...
Chapter
The research featured in this chapter was part of my PhD dissertation. It actions Jonathan Jansen’s “post- conflict pedagogy” within the context of First Nations-settler relationships relating to forest management in northwestern Ontario. Jansen’s pedagogy was developed in congruence with his experiences as the first black dean at the (predominantl...
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Researchers and advocates have long argued that on-going engagement by broad segments of the public can help make forests and forest-based communities more sustainable and decisions more enduring. In Canada, public engagement in sustainable forest management has primarily taken one of two approaches – advisory forums through forest-sector advisory...
Article
Social-ecological systems face increasing disruptions and challenges, many deriving from human actions, and learning is frequently touted as “the way out” for addressing them. Using a systematic review of 26 studies that span about 20 years and cover four continents, this article interrogates the link between learning, action, and societal transfor...
Technical Report
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This report provides an updated national overview of how the public has been engaged in forest-sector advisory committees (FACs) in Canada. These committees operate across a wide range of geographic, social and political environments and the study highlights a number of important similarities and differences among the provinces and regions where FA...
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This paper examines the role of participation and learning in Kenyan strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) of urban plans that include a solid waste management (SWM) component. Two SEA cases were studied using 40 semi-structured interviews and two focus groups. Data are analysed qualitatively employing NVivo software. Participation is assessed...
Article
Federally, Canada entered a new chapter of review and revision of its impact assessment law in 2015. On the path to reform, the Federal government undertook a number of activities that spanned almost two years before introducing legislation. Efforts included striking an ‘expert panel’ to consult Canadians and establishing a multi-stakeholder Minist...
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An important outcome of social learning in the context of natural resource management is the potential for collective action-actions taken by a group of people that are the result of finding shared or common interest. Evidence of the relationship between collective action and social learning is beginning to emerge in the natural resource management...
Article
Addressing environmental problems through conventional expert and scientific approaches alone is largely ineffective. Therefore, Canadian forest management has evolved to include governance processes such as public advisory committees. Public participation is mandated by federal and provincial policy and is a key part of forest certification proces...
Chapter
The Himalayan region of India is experiencing rapid development in tourism, agriculture, highway construction and hydroelectric dam construction. This research considered the role of the public both within and outside of development decision-making processes in these high mountain environments using the proposed Himalayan Ski Village (HSV) in Manal...
Article
IA regime design has evolved significantly over the past 50 years. Current thinking includes a package of next generation approaches such as the incorporation of requirements for regional and strategic IA, the consideration of cumulative effects and alternatives, and the inclusion of sustainability criteria and trade-off rules for decision makers....
Article
In order to learn about public participation in Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and identify opportunities for improvement of SEA, this research examined the Western Newfoundland Offshore Area SEA case in Canada. Through analysis of observation and interview data, findings reveal that participants involved recognized the shortcomings of th...
Article
Notwithstanding the considerable attention placed on creating meaningful opportunities for public participation in environmental assessment (EA), many participants and those who have reviewed participation processes often find practice sorely wanting. This reality stands in stark juxtaposition to future environmental governance needs, which will re...
Article
Critical to impact assessments (IA) evolution has been the advent of more meaningful processes for participation. The use of the Internet as a tool of participation, as well as the scope and ambition of IA, has been growing since their inception. This work explores e-governance and social media in IA and the potential contribution these may make to...
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p>Community gardens are places where people connect, share, and engage their social and ecological communities. The purpose of this research was to document and communicate participants’ experiences of community-building through community gardening in Kenora, Ontario, Canada. The primary method used was Photovoice, whereby a group of twelve partici...
Article
India is promoting the vast hydropower potential of the Himalayan region, and the northern states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are encouraging small, medium and major hydro projects. Our research examined the approval processes for small hydro in these states with a view to making recommendations for policy improvements. We describe local un...
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This study addresses the often chaotic and confounding implications of neoliberalism as it applies to environmental governance in the Canadian forest sector. On one hand, neoliberal governance strategies are said to enhance collaborative and partnership approaches to forest management that empower local stakeholders and communities. On the other ha...
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Kenya is among the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to formally require the assessment of public policies, plans and programs. National strategic environmental assessment (SEA) guidelines were finalized in 2012 to adapt and enhance SEA practice in the Kenyan context. The purpose of this research was to examine recent Kenyan SEA, with a particu...
Article
In recent years, action on sustainability has been highly influential around the globe and many now recognize the importance of individual and social learning for inspiring action and achieving sustainability outcomes. Transformative learning theory has been criticized, however, for insufficient development of the link between learning and action....
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Despite all the effort that has gone into defining, researching and establishing best practices for cumulative effects assessment (CEA), understanding remains weak and practice wanting. At one extreme of implementation, CEA can be described as merely an irritant to the completion of a project-specific environmental assessment (EA). At the other ext...
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Community forestry is a collaborative governance approach to forest management that is seen as a promising tool for implementing sustainable forest management. The expectation of government is that community forests, as managers of public forestlands, will work to achieve sustainability. Little has been written, however, about the ways community fo...
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Clothing is an integral part of our lives, yet modes of producing, using, and disposing of apparel have significant impacts on the environment. Our research explored the role transformative learning plays in the transition to more sustainable thinking and actions about clothing to illuminate instrumental learning processes and examine the relations...
Article
Natural resource management increasingly strives for meaningful public participation as a means to address the complexity, uncertainty, and conflict inherent in planning and decision making. When there are multiple stakeholders, place-based inquiry shows considerable promise as a vehicle for such participation. The Common Ground Land (CGL), importa...
Article
Transformative learning theory is applied in a variety of fields, including archaeology, religious studies, health care, the physical sciences, environmental studies, and natural resource management. Given the breadth of the theory’s application, it needs to be adaptable to broad contexts. This article shares insights gained from applying the theor...
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Kenora is a small city located in northwestern Ontario, Canada. The study presented here focuses on Tunnel Island, 300 acres of forested land adjacent to Kenora's downtown. The island is used and valued by both city residents and members of three nearby Ojibway nations. As a multiple-use, common-pool resource accessed by different groups for a rang...
Chapter
The hilly and mountainous regions of the Indian Himalaya offer vast potential for hydro development because of the number of fast-flowing rivers and streams. Several state governments, along with the central government, continue to promote the harnessing of this power potential to correct energy deficits, encourage industrial development, and impro...
Article
The Himalayan region of India is experiencing rapid development in tourism, agriculture, highway construction and hydroelectric dam construction. This research considered the role of the public both within and outside of development decision-making processes in these high mountain environments using the proposed Himalayan Ski Village (HSV) in Manal...
Article
A close examination of venues for participatory environmental governance reveals highly constrained settings for citizen engagement. This situation is documented within the broader social milieu by Skocpol as a narrowing of public life which is characterized in this paper by professional, stakeholder, and elitist forms of participatory environmenta...
Article
Trees play pivotal roles in urban ecosystems through reducing temperature, increasing humidity, reducing wind speed, absorbing air pollutants, and reducing carbon dioxide, among other benefits. The urban forest will become increasingly influential through the 21st century. Urban development, however, alters the relationships and interactions betwee...
Article
The complex and unpredictable contexts in which environmental and development work take place require an adaptable, learning approach. Faith-based organizations (FBOs) play a significant role in sustainability work around the world, and provide a unique setting in which to study learning. This paper explores individual learning for sustainability w...
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Meaningful public engagement is a challenging, but promising, feature of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) due to its potential for integrating sustainability principles into policies, plans and programs in developing countries such as Kenya. This research examined two selected SEA case studies to identify the extent of participation, learni...
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Our study examined current livelihood strategies among dryland villagers in Karnataka, India, and evaluated prospective farm and nonfarm diversification strategies for sustainable livelihood outcomes. Using a sustainable livelihoods framework, data were collected using interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires to identify contextual influences o...
Conference Paper
https://books.google.ca/books?id=plqlCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA139&dq=The+role+of+e-governance+and+social+media+in+creating+platforms+for+meaningful+participation+in+environmental+assessment+The+role+of+e-governance+and+social+media+in+creating+platforms+for+meaningful+participation+in+environmental+assessment&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjC1I3mppXSAhVs2IMKHeNMCFMQ6A...
Article
The hydropower potential of the state of Uttarakhand, in the Indian Himalaya, is an estimated 20,000 MW, of which approximately 3200 MW have been developed. In conjunction with the central government, Uttarakhand is pursuing a policy of rapidly developing its remaining potential. The necessity for careful planning, assessment and mitigation of this...
Conference Paper
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The forests of Northwest Ontario, Canada are common property resources with an emerging and complex governance system involving industry and local, provincial, federal and First Nations governments. Matters are further complicated by recent shifts in the regional economy away from forest products. Additionally, movements towards inclusivity and col...
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Participatory irrigation management (PIM) was adopted in Thailand in 2004 to encourage the sustainable use of water in the agricultural sector. The research presented in this paper sought to understand the relationships between public participation, learning, and the implementation of more sustainable water practices through PIM in Thailand. Data w...
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Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have long played a role in international development, and are increasingly involved in environmental sustainability initiatives. Despite these contributions they have, until recently, been largely ignored in scholarship and by secular agencies. This article adds to the growing recognition of FBOs, exploring the iden...
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This paper reviews studies of transformative learning through public involvement in natural resource and environmental management (NREM). It summarises evidence regarding instrumental, communicative, transformative and sustainability-oriented learning outcomes, and learning processes such as reflection, rational discourse and applying new frames of...
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This paper explores policy action taken by the federal government in Canada to test the potential for substitution of the federal process to regulatory bodies as a means of encouraging environmental impact assessment (EIA) efficiency. Our purpose is to present the experiences of people who participated in the EIA of the Emera Brunswick Pipeline in...
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Stakeholder involvement is often cited as critical to sustainable tourism development, but there is limited documentation for niche areas, such as adventure tourism. The main purpose of our research was to understand stakeholder roles in adventure tourism in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (NDBR), Uttarakhand, India, to identify opportunities for...
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Although the public advisory committee has become a very common tool for involving local people in forest management decisions, it does not necessarily broaden the base of public input and may simply replicate the challenges of access, representation, and capacity to participate that are found in wider society. As a category of social exclusion, th...
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Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) was formally adopted in Thailand in 2004. The involvement of farmers in water management decision making is necessary to meet the implementation challenges of this initiative. As such, the research presented in this paper considered the level of farmer involvement in water management and decision making, an...
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Food is a powerful symbol in the struggle to transition to a more sustainable pathway since the food choices citizens make have deep environmental and social impacts within their communities and around the world. Using transformative learning theory, this research explored the learning that took place among individual adults who consumed goods dire...
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The federal environmental assessment (EA) process and most provincial EA processes in Canada either specifically provide for mediation as an option or implicitly allow for it. In spite of this, the actual use of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has been almost non-existent in Canadian EA. There is an emerging view,...
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Self-organization is a key condition to the success of community-based conservation initiatives, including those recognized by the Equator Initiative of the UNDP. This paper contributes to emerging scholarship that focuses on community-based conservation in South Asia and in particular examines self-organization strategies within a small-scale comm...
Article
This research examines complexities surrounding environmental impact assessment (EIA) in a multi-jurisdictional environment, with a specific focus on opportunities for public participation. With almost universal adoption of EIA, projects are increasingly subject to more than one assessment process. Thus there is demand to facilitate inter-jurisdict...
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This paper describes a community-based approach to strategic environmental assessment (SEA) using a case study of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad's (ICE) watershed management agricultural program (WMAP) in Costa Rica. The approach focused on four highly interactive workshops that used visioning, brainstorming and critical reflection exe...
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research Traditional medicinal plant knowledge (TMK) helps meet the health needs of a large section of the world’s population, especially socially and economically disadvantaged and aboriginal communities of developing countries like India. However, there is little known about TMK skills and their intergenerational transfer and growing concerns ove...
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The Kullu District is a typical high-mountain environment with valley bottom elevation in the Manali area of about 2000 m and major summits that rise to 6500 m. This topography offers vast potential for hydroelectric development. In recent years the demand for power in India has exceeded supply, especially in the northern region, resulting in rapid...
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Numerous scholars are now directing their attention to the education and learning implications of participatory resource and environmental governance because of the potential implications of these for generating the social mobilization necessary to achieve sustainability trajectories. Our work, and that of other researchers, establishes that public...
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We consider the extent to which the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA) provides an opportunity for deliberative democracy to emerge within the context of resource management in Canada's North. The focus is on the extent to which the tenets of deliberative democracy are exercised in the environmental assessment (EA) of the Snap Lake di...
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The paper explores the role of education in environmental assessment (EA) identifies the range of techniques used to conduct EA education, and develops a rationale for the concept of critical EA education. The literature on public involvement in EA indicates that public education plays a significant, but poorly defined, role in current thinking on...
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Based on an ongoing qualitative case study in Costa Rica, this article presents the participatory work that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) is doing with farmers to protect watersheds from erosion and contamination. Specifically, it includes a description of ICE's Watershed Management Agricultural Programme and how farmers partici...
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Considerable attention is now being given to the role and importance of education and learning implications of participatory resource and environmental governance. The contention is that such learning has the potential to transform behaviour, and in the case of resource management, may help change current patterns in resource use towards a more sus...
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The benefits of public participation in EA have been clearly described in both theoretical and practical terms. Despite the wealth of benefits ascribed to engaging the public in EA, the design and implementation of specific public participation programs remains contentious. In fact, public participation processes are still frequently criticized as...
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Canadians desire involvement in forest management at normative or early planning phases. One way of accomplishing this is through meaningful public involvement in land-use planning efforts. The Provinces of Ontario and Manitoba have, respectively, completed or are completing the development of land use plans for large areas of forested landscapes....
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Forest management in Canada is evolving from being largely bilateral and closed to being more inclusive and open. In an effort to test new approaches to public participation, many forest products companies have established advisory committees. Since there is little empirical evidence documenting advisory committee processes, our purpose was to dete...
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One of the fundamental challenges of project-based environmental assessments (EA) has been to deliver on the promise of meaningful public participation leading to decisions that put affected societies on the path to sustainability. The record to date has been less than promising, leading the authors to propose that it is time to consider a differen...
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This paper explores the essential policy elements of extended producer responsibility for packaging, and provides direction on two key policy elements that are currently the subject of considerable debate in Canada particularly, and North America more generally: mandatory or voluntary take-back requirements, and hidden or visible levies. The approa...
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Involving the public in government decision making regarding sustainable development is a complex and difficult problem. This article suggests that weak public consultation, occurring at the operational planning level, is in part responsible for the lack of policy innovation in this realm. A case study technique considers approaches to public consu...
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Purpose – Environmental assessment (EA) is a proactive planning tool designed to consider the ecological, cultural, socio‐political and economic impacts of potential projects, making it a major tool for achieving sustainable development. Meaningful EA requires a bridging of the natural sciences with the social sciences to broaden understanding of t...
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Where floods are prevalent, decisions on how to mitigate vulnerability are made within a social-cultural context that includes values (and related customs, norms, beliefs, technology) of local people, which have evolved through interactions with the physical environment. Consequently, the success of floodplain management and flood mitigation activi...
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The emergency response phase of flood management is often controversial because of the nature of the decisions that are made, such as the decision to evacuate. The limited literature on public involvement in response efforts indicates that conflict and dissatisfaction often mar emergency response due to the absence of public input. This paper exami...
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The success of flood planning and management relies at least partially on effective and fair public involvement. In this paper we examine a recent initiative in Canada’s Red River basin, centreing on two alternatives for structural adjustments: a $660 million expansion of the Red River Floodway and a $543 million system of dykes and diversion chann...
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The Kullu District in HimachalPradesh, India, a Himalayan mountain area, has experienced rapid development in tourism, agriculture and hydro-electricity with substantial impact on the local society, economy, and environment. This paper describes a project undertaken in the area since 1994 by the Universities of Manitoba and Delhi involving collabor...
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This research examined the opportunities for critical education available to participants of a federal environmental assessment (EA) that includes hearings. The Sable Gas Panel Review, an assessment of a natural gas project situated in the Maritimes, was undertaken between 1996 and 1997. This study documented what participants learned through their...
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This research examined public consultations on the citizen engagement provisions of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act prior to submission of an amending Bill to Parliament. Primary data collection focused on a review of documentation including statutes, regulations, policies, proceedings and reports from workshops, and written public input....