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Climate Change

Our Interconnected World: Impact Assessment, Health, and the Environment



Today’s actions entail irreversible losses of Earth’s living beings, greater climate forcing than in 3 million years of Earth history, and disruptive social-ecological dynamics that span the world. Worldwide, people’s health and wellbeing increasingly depend on planetary health. We now need to discuss and explore much better ways of working with the connectedness.

PRESENTER: Dr. Sarah Cornell is Associate Professor in Sustainability Science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, an international research centre at Stockholm University. Since 2011, she and her team have worked on issues where the global perspectives of Earth system science meet the complex dynamics of social-ecological systems. The scientific development and critique of the Planetary Boundaries framework and its real-world application in policy and business has become a long-term research activity, but current interests and projects also deal with circular and bio-based economy, sustainability metrics and targets, and goal-seeking scenarios for the 2030 Agenda. Her research background is in environmental chemistry (PhD 1996 from the University of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Sciences), but the main idea that links all her interdisciplinary and integrative work is the question ‘Where’s the human?’ in these scientific understandings of global environmental change.


We appear to be experiencing an increasing number of extreme weather events resulting from climate change. Across North America, regional and municipal governments are charged with preparing for these events, and responding in times of crisis. 

PRESENTER: Marla Orenstein is Past President and President-elect of IAIA.  She is also the Director of the Natural Resources Centre at the Canada West Foundation, a public policy think tank.  Marla has led projects for both the public and private sector, on behalf of government, Indigenous government, industry, and community organizations. Her focus has been on ensuring the wellbeing of communities in the context of development and change.


Extreme heat events are (so far) the most lethal impacts of climate change. Professor Gerrard's presentation on how impact assessment should consider these impacts and ways to mitigate them.

PRESENTER: Michael B. Gerrard is Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School, where he teaches courses on environmental and energy law and founded and directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. He is also a member and former Chair of the Faculty of Columbia’s Earth Institute. Before joining the Columbia faculty in January 2009, he was partner in charge of the New York office of the Arnold & Porter law firm; he is now Senior Counsel to the firm.  He practiced environmental law in New York City full time from 1979 to 2008. He was the 2004-2005 chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.  He has also chaired the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.  

Since 1986, Gerrard has written an environmental law column for the New York Law Journal.  He is author or editor of thirteen books, two of which were named Best Law Book of the Year by the Association of American Publishers: Environmental Law Practice Guide (twelve volumes, 1992) and Brownfields Law and Practice (four volumes, 1998). Among his other books are Global Climate Change and U.S. Law (with Jody Freeman) (2d ed. 2014); Law of Clean Energy (2011); Climate Engineering and the Law: Regulation and Liability for Solar Radiation Management and Carbon Dioxide Removal (with Tracy Hester 2018); and Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (with John Dernbach 2019).

He received his B.A. from Columbia University and his J.D. from NYU Law School.


This session contains two presentations. 

Relaxing environmental governance in northern Alberta poses a serious cumulative health risk to First Nations (Peter Croal; starts at 00:10): This presentation discusses how residential school legacy, climate change, oil sand operations, COVID-19, and relaxed environmental governance seriously jeopardize the health of northern Alberta’s First Nations.

The duty to consult in Canada (Dan Stuckless; starts at 29:39): The duty to consult in Canada is not a one-way street and due to unilateral decisions, political interference or dismissal of asserted section 35 rights, will continue the mistrust of the crown and regulators.

Peter Croal is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and has a B.Sc., Geology Degree from Carleton University (1979). Since then Peter has been working in the field of environmental assessment and international development for over 35 years. He focuses on the relationship between environmental management, resource extraction, and poverty reduction in developing countries and the Arctic. Peter is particularly interested in how climate change affects indigenous peoples, and how the knowledge of Indigenous peoples can be applied to developmental challenges. He also works on expedition cruise ships to Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic as a guide and lecturer. His work has taken him to over forty developing countries, including a two-year stint of living and working in Namibia with his family. Peter started his career prospecting for uranium, zinc, silver, petroleum, peat, and groundwater in Canada. He sits on the boards of several not-for-profit development organizations. In 2015 Peter started a reconciliation project called the National Healing Forest Initiative (

Dan Stuckless: Environmental management, regulatory coordination and administration, as well as communication, consultation and relationship building are the cornerstones of his career as an environmental steward, consensus builder and leader. With over 15 years’ experience working in the Alberta oil sands region for industry, indigenous communities and regional multi-stakeholder groups, he brings an acute awareness and insightful appreciation of the issues and dynamics at play amongst the diverse stakeholder groups and communities involved in—and affected by—industrial development in northern Alberta. His work has comprised of managing environmental and multi-stakeholder programs, including environmental projects involving air quality and industrial odours, traditional resource surveys, and traditional ecological knowledge projects. Daniel has also been involved in developing and evaluating government policies, regulations, land management initiatives, providing strategic and technical advice for establishing and pertaining to IBA agreement negotiations. In addition, Daniel’s work over the years has included receiving, reviewing and responding to oilsands, forestry, quarry, pipeline and other resource development-related applications to multiple provincial and federal regulatory authorities. Throughout his career, Daniel has attained progressive leadership experience in the areas of environmental management, regulatory affairs and stakeholder relations. Currently, as the Director of the Fort McKay Metis Sustainability Centre, his work includes facilitating strong, positive relationships between Aboriginal community stakeholders, industry, government and regional groups through timely and transparent communication and meaningful consultation.