By the Faculty of Environment

Just in time for World Ocean’s Day, Water Institute member Dr. Derek Armitage in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability (SERS) has co-edited a new book on creating a sustainable future for Canada’s oceans and coasts along with Rashid Sumaila and William Cheung from the University of British Columbia and Megan Bailey from Dalhousie University.  

Book cover - Sea change

The book titled Sea Change draws on the outcomes of the OceanCanada Partnership, a six-year, multidisciplinary initiative supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and based at the University of British Columbia.  

Collectively, the co-editors and collaborating authors outline what they know about Canada’s three oceans, the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic, and assess some of the pressing issues confronting the coastal communities whose resource-based livelihoods and cultural fabric are closely connected to the sea. Among those collaborators are several current or former SERS faculty and graduate students, including Simon Courtenay, Graham Epstein, Evan Andrews, Sondra Eger, Ella-Kari Muhl and Irene Brueckner-Irwin. 

“There is no question the sustainability of oceans and coasts in Canada is a major challenge,” says Armitage. “But our focus in the book was also on trying to look for solutions and examples of positive development and many of those solutions are only emerging through transdisciplinary partnerships – something we think a lot about in SERS and in the Faculty of Environment.” 

With the involvement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and practitioners, as well as numerous government perspectives, the book draws attention to several cross-cutting or organizing themes that are of crucial importance moving forward, such as  

  • understanding and responding to multiple drivers of ocean change,  
  • ensuring coastal communities have access to ocean resources in the context of change and the ability to steward those resources,  
  • and the need for adaptive, integrative and equitable ocean governance that builds on a coherent vision for the future, from coast to coast to coast. 

Sea Change is now available and is published by UBC Press.   

Dr. Derek Armitage teaches courses on coastal systems, biodiversity and sustainability applications and is co-lead of the Vulnerability to Viability Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries. He is also a coordinating author for the United Nations 3rd World Oceans Assessment.  

Photo credit: Derek Armitage