The unprecedented material progress achieved in the modern era has brought with it a vast range of negative environmental consequences. The iAffairs Environment section is primarily intended to highlight ongoing developments relating to those environmental issues that are most critical for the long-term well-being and development of human communities, with particular emphasis on the issues most relevant to Canadians. Issues that are likely to be addressed include: the relationship between economic growth and environmental sustainability, the effects of climate change and climate change adaptation, the development and adoption of “clean technologies” and renewable sources of energy, international environmental law, including issues regarding the future of the Kyoto Protocol and the related negotiations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as it relates to the environment, governmental regulation of pollution and GHG emissions, including developments relating to the adoption and effects of carbon tax or cap-and-trade policies, governmental oversight and involvement in extractive industries, including (of course) issues relating to the Athabasca oil sands, the management of fresh water resources, and the management of fisheries and protection of other wildlife.
Ben Self is currently in his final semester of NPSIA’s Master’s program in International Affairs, with a concentration in International Dimensions of Development. Although a U.S. citizen, Ben has now lived in Canada for three years, and has previously lived in Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, and Saudi Arabia, as well as the U.S. Over the previous academic year, Ben worked for the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, with particular involvement in the Clean Technologies / Green Energy sector, one of the sectors prioritized for development by the Ontario government. His interest in environmental issues was first sparked through the environmental studies courses he took in high school, but this interest has also stemmed from summers spent living on his grandfather’s farm in rural Kentucky. His particular interests in the field include the nexus between the environment and rural development in Africa, as well as the whole host of issues relating to the ever-increasingly urgent challenge of climate change mitigation and adaptation.