Current Projects

Garbage into Art: A Pangnirtung Community Project

Micky Renders

PhD Student / School of Environmental Studies





My project aims to provide a holistic view of the degree and complexity of the problem of waste in Pangnirtung, Nunavut; in the context of settler colonialism, national security, and economic development. Local Inuit elders, artists, and youth are invited to consider the issue of waste from personal, cultural, social, symbolic, historical, and environmental perspectives.  This community-based research uses art-making as a tool to animate the problems, root causes and lived experiences related to waste and share these with settler populations southern communities.

Mapping the Relationship between Plastics and Fossil Fuels: Implications for a Canadian Green Economy

Jacob Riha

MES Student | School of Environmental Studies 

(Co-Supervised with Dr. Kyla Tienhaara)










Now more than ever, images of plastic pollution flood our minds, our oceans and just about everything in between. One of the more blind spots, however, is how the petrochemical sector will continue to be a key driver of fossil fuel demand for years to come – and that industry has known this for decades. With this research, I will explore the relationship between government and industry/plastics and fossil fuels as a product of corporate influence and capitalist power. In doing so, I will assess the transparency of Canadian policy and the feasibility of transitioning towards a green economy. This project has the additional benefit of contributing to a publication on waste production in wake of COVID-19 and the idea of ‘prepping’ for disaster.


Waste Futures and the Northwest Passage

Hillary Predko 

MES Student / School of Environmental Studies




The Northwest Passage, or passages, has been an important piece of Canadian identity through myth-making about ‘frontiers’ and a ‘wastelands’. With this research, I will explore the opening up of the Northwest Passage from receding multi-year sea ice and what that means for waste making in Canada’s Arctic. How has climate change created an anthropogenic landscape in the Arctic archipelago, and how does that cascade through the ecology of human and non-human actors?

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Laboratory Waste

Gabrielle Dee

MES Student | School of Environmental Studies

Individualism and Waste

Aja Rowden

MES Student | School of Environmental Studies








My project explores the establishment and proliferation of the individual consumer in North America as the champion of the environmental movement. I am focused on efficient consumerism and indivudalizing waste creation as a product of the green growth movement upheld by current neoliberal political and economic. 


Completed Projects

Contending with Risk and Uncertainty: Exploring Experiences of Uranium Mining in Qamani’tuaq, Nunavut

Jessica Metuzals

MES Student | School of Environmental Studies






Qamani’tuaq, or Baker Lake, is a small, inland and mainly Inuit hamlet in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. Since the late 1960s the region has experienced extensive and ongoing uranium exploration, and  multiple high-grade uranium deposits have been located beneath sensitive caribou habitat.


Disposing of Risk: The governance of recalled food and the (un)making of waste

Scott Lougheed, MA | SSHRC Doctoral Award

PhD Student | School of Environmental Studies












I use food recalls as a lens to understand how efforts to secure the Canadian food system and Canadian consumers more broadly intersect with the limits of human control. I draw on the related concepts of biopolitics, biosecurity, and risk, as a frame for critically examining the imbroglio that constitutes the simultaneous control of microbial life on the one hand, and the enriching of human life on the other. 

Governing Waste Issues in Iqaluit, Nunavut

Alexander Zahara | SSHRC MES Award

Graduated MES Student| School of Environmental Studies











Nunavut communities produced little material waste prior to European contact but are now the largest producers of waste in Canada’s North.[...]

Hospital Waste

Zoey Ventresca

Undergraduate Student | School of Environmental Studies

This project aims to explore the kinds and volumes of waste produced in hospital settings. My focus will be on exploring hospital green initiatives that seek to minimize hospital waste.


Assessing Phytoremediation as an Alternative Remediation Technique for Organochlorine Pesticide and Heavy Metal Contaminated Areas

Ryan Bergin

MES Student / School of Environmental Studies, Queen's University (Drs. Barb Zeeb and Allison Rutter, supervisors)







This project focuses on using phytoremediation as a potential remediation technique for a variety of environmental contaminants. The first goal is to identify potential native plant species that are effective at removing organochlorine pesticides (DDT and dieldrin) and heavy metals (arsenic and lead) from contaminated soils in Point Pelee National Park and to identify proper waste disposal techniques for these contaminated plants. The second goal is to assess mercury levels within edible plant and mushroom species in Iqaluit, Nunavut and identify potential species that are effective at removing mercury waste from contaminated soils. 


Military Waste Legacies: The DEW Line and Environmental Justice















This project is concerned with  waste and environmental justice issues associated with toxic dumpsites in disenfranchised communities.

Policy Analysis: Comparing Waste Policies in Nunavut and Ontario

Sarah-Louise Ruder | 2016 USSRF Award Winner

Graduated 4th Year Student | School of Environmental Studies













As part of a USSRF Summer Research Studentship, Sarah-Louise Ruder conducted a policy analysis comparing waste policies in Ontario and Nunavut.

Airplane waste

Victoria Rilstone

MES Awarded 2019











Airplanes generate several kinds of waste, from CO2  emissions, meal and beverage services, cleaning services, and sewage waste services. This project explores the distribution lifecycle of international microorganisms and antimicrobial resistance genes (AMR) that mingle in the bowls of an aircraft, and the disinfection treatment it receives. 

The Lifecycle of Beer in Ontario

Aja Rowden

Undergraduate Student | School of Environmental Studies









My project examines the environmental impacts of common household objects in their life-cycle, from production, distribution, use, and disposal.