From Problems to Solutions

Environmental challenges can seem overwhelming. We’re constantly bombarded with news and information about air and water pollution, climate change, habitat and species loss, food shortages and other problems that threaten humanity. In the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability (SERS), we understand the seriousness of these challenges – but we are focused on solutions that will allow us to navigate towards a sustainable future.

  1. Sep. 9, 2020Welcome, Bienvenue, Boozhoo to SERS!

    For some of us this is welcome back and for others it is welcome for the first time. Wherever you are from, whatever your background, you belong in SERS and you are wanted here.

    For all of us it’s a new Fall Term and one unlike anything we have ever experienced before.  If you’re feeling a little anxious and uncertain about how things are going to go with this self-distanced and largely online term, you’re not alone.  We’re all feeling that but we’ll all cut each other a little slack and we’ll muddle through it together. 

  2. June 25, 2020Congratulations to SERS Vanier Scholar - Lauren Smith
    Lauren Smith photo

    Perhaps the faculty’s worst-kept secret of 2020, Environment is proud to finally announce our two outstanding Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) winners, Lauren Smith, from the School of Environment Resources and Sustainability, and Justin Murfitt, from Geography and Environmental management.

  3. June 22, 2020Fall 2020 new course offering: ERS 375 Section 2: Stopping the 6th Extinction!
    ERS Section 2 promotion

    Check out Fall 2020 new course offering: ERS 375 Section 2: Stopping the 6th Extinction!

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  1. Sep. 14, 2020SERS Stories: Water brings art and science together
    4 samples of Rob's photos including water, branches, rocks, leaves

    Can art and science be brought together fruitfully in ways that lead to new, deeper and more enduring understanding of complex environmental problems? Can art open new pathways to understanding and caring about the environment?

  2. Aug. 5, 2020SERS Stories: What do you do with a single shoe?
    Pile of discarded shoes

    This simple question sounds like it would lead to a simple answer, but the fate of even a single shoe involves some of the most complex issues related to textile waste. I quickly discovered this during my master’s studies at the University of Waterloo’s School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability.

  3. July 14, 2020SERS Stories: Effluent from an abandoned gas well affects benthic macroinvertebrates
    Christine Nielsen, Mark Servos, Paula Jongerden and Simon Courtenay in Big Creek.

    Natural gas reservoirs were first discovered in Ontario in 1866, and drilling to extract the new source of energy began in the early 1900s. Since then, thousands of natural gas wells have been drilled in southwestern Ontario. As extraction became inefficient due to the depletion of gas reservoirs, many of these wells were abandoned. Most wells abandoned before the 1970s were inadequately plugged to the standards of the time. These well plugs have deteriorated over time, causing untreated effluent, which contains contaminants such as hydrogen sulfide, to pollute the air and leak into local soils and streams. Nearby residents have been cautioned of life-threatening concentrations of hydrogen sulfide and they have noticed a strong rotten egg odour and experienced watering eyes, headaches, and nausea characteristic of exposure to hydrogen sulfide.  Residents are concerned for their safety and impacts to the environment.

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