Earth Day: Wildlife, conservation and climate change experts available


York University experts can explain how their research supports Earth Day’s goals

TORONTO, April 9, 2019 – On April 22, Canadians will celebrate Earth Day. The day aims to inspire Canadians to go green, make sustainable choices and reduce their carbon footprint.

This year, Earth Day Network has chosen the global theme of Protect our Species. The campaign focuses on protecting endangered and threatened species, and rapidly declining plant and wildlife populations. The day is also an opportunity to examine the impact of human activity on climate change, deforestation, poaching and pollution.

The following York University experts are available for interviews about their research and expertise on forest conservation, wildlife crimes and climate change.

Elizabeth Lunstrum is an associate professor in the Department of Geography in the Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies. A political ecologist and geographer, Lunstrum’s research focuses on the politics of conservation and national parks, environmental displacement related to human rights abuses, wildlife crimes, biodiversity conservation, and the impact of national parks on Indigenous people. Currently, she is researching changes to conservation practices in Canada’s national parks.

She can comment on:

  • Conservation politics
  • Conservation in Canada, South Africa, Mozambique and the U.S.
  • Wildlife and commercial poaching

Dawn Bazely, a professor in the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science, has spent four decades doing ecology field research on plant-animal interactions and invasive plant management, from Canada's arctic to the U.S. border. A STEM scholar and leader in science communication, Bazely has led studies examining the impacts of high numbers of white-tailed deer on southern Ontario forests, which have been used by government agencies to guide forest and deer herd management. Her research focuses on the spread of introduced plant species, the success of habitat management to restore rare plant species and ecosystems, and how ecotourism is helping people understand the importance of biodiversity.

She can comment on:

  • Climate change and climate change policy
  • Impact of climate change on ecosystems, biodiversity and invasive species
  • Declining plant populations, forest conservation and management

Sapna Sharma is an associate professor in the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science. Her research focuses on the impacts of human-caused environmental stressors, including the effects of climate change and invasive species on lakes. Recently, Sharma led an international study that predicts 35,300 lakes will lose their annual winter ice cover across the Northern Hemisphere due to climate change. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change in January, is considered to be the first comprehensive, large-scale assessment of lake ice loss.

She can comment on:

  • Impact of environmental stressors on lakes
  • Climate change
  • Invasive species, water quality and freshwater fisheries

Mark Winfield is a professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies and co-chair of York’s Sustainable Energy Initiative. His research and teaching focuses on sustainable energy and climate change policy; environmental governance and regulatory regimes; environmental sustainability; and the political economy of Ontario. Winfield has written dozens of published articles, book chapters and reports including his book, Blue-Green Province: The Environment and Political Economy of Ontario, a study of environmental policy in Ontario, published in 2012.

He can comment on:

  • Energy, environmental and climate change policy
  • Carbon pricing, low-carbon transition and clean technology subsidies
  • Air and water pollution

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York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact: Vanessa Thompson, York University Media Relations, 647-654-9452,