New Sustainability Speaker Series Organized by the Ethics, Society & Law Program

Posted: January 31, 2022

Trinity’s Ethics, Society & Law Program will host a new Sustainability Speaker Series focused on the ethics, socio-political context, and the legal environment of sustainability issues. The Series is organized by the TRN312 “Sustainability Issues in Ethics, Society and Law” course, which is taught by Professor Nicole Spiegelaar, Associate Director of Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative.

As part of Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative, sustainability studies is being integrated into the College’s academic programs to help equip students with tools to address one of the globe’s most pressing challenges. Last year, the College added a core sustainability course to the Ethics, Society & Law Program (TRN312: Sustainability Issues in Ethics, Society and Law) as well as to the International Relations Program (TRN350: Scarcity, Sustainability, and the Future of International Relations). A sustainability course in Immunology is also under development.

The Ethics, Society & Law Program’s Sustainability Speaker Series is hosted by students presently in the TRN312 course, and is co-sponsored by the Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative and the Ethics, Society & Law Students’ Association.

All students, staff and faculty are welcome to attend. The events will be virtual during the spring of 2022.

1. Darcy Lindberg: Addressing Sustainability Issues with Indigenous Legal Orders

2. Environmental Defence – Spotting (and Communicating) a Fake: Debunking the Recycling Myth

3. Dayna Scott – A Feminist Political Economy of Pollution: Advancing Analytics and Ethics on Toxics and Gender


1. Darcy Lindberg – Addressing Sustainability Issues with Indigenous Legal Orders

Wednesday, February 2, 2022: 4:10 pm to 6:00 pm ET via Zoom
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The plurality of Indigenous legal orders in Canada provides a multitude of different legal relationships with the environment. Where Canadian-state law may fail to offer protection and humane conduct towards the ecological world, Indigenous legal orders can address these failings. This lecture will explore Indigenous environmental laws and their historical and future application to environmental harms.

Darcy Lindberg is mixed-rooted Plains Cree, with his family coming from maskwâcîs (Samson Cree Nation) in Alberta and the Battleford-area in Saskatchewan. He holds a BA from the University of Alberta, and a JD, LLM and PhD from UVic. Darcy was called to the British Columbia and Yukon bars in 2014, and practiced in the Yukon Territory with Davis LLP. His research focuses on nêhiyaw law, ecological governance through Indigenous legal orders, gender and Indigenous ceremonies, comparative approaches in nêhiyaw and Canadian constitutionalism, and Indigenous treaty making. In 2021-22, he will be teaching one of the field schools in the JD/JID program.

2. Environmental Defence – Spotting (and Communicating) a Fake: Debunking the Recycling Myth

Wednesday February 16, 2022: 4:10 pm to 6:00 pm ET via Zoom
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For decades, the plastics industry has made a concerted effort to convince people that plastic is disposable and can be thrown away after a single use. Fast forward to 2021, and we’re in a global plastic pollution crisis. The equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the world’s oceans every minute. But when citizens try to push back the tide of plastic, the industry shifts the blame onto consumers and promises that recycling will save us. The reality is, the world makes and uses too much plastic and recycling won’t solve anything. How can we convince the public and decision makers that recycling is not a silver bullet when the notion is so widespread? Environmental Defence’s Lauren Thomas, Communications Manager, and Karen Wirsig, Plastics Campaigner, will present their communication strategies for debunking the plastic industry’s myths and shifting the focus on to the true causes of the plastic pollution crisis.

Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization working with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

Karen Wirsig | Plastics Program Manager: Karen has worked as a journalist and as a labour and community organizer. She has participated in her downtown Toronto housing co-operative for more than 20 years. An active transportation enthusiast who favours walking, cycling, and public transit, Karen has never owned a car. She is a voracious reader and has spent her adult life trying to unlearn the common belief that humans should strive for domination over each other, over other animals, and over nature itself. She’s passionate about helping to get plastics out of the environment.

Lauren Thomas | Communications Manager: The majority of Lauren’s childhood was spent camping, hiking and learning to love and respect our shared environment. When not outdoors, Lauren could be found obsessively rewatching Sir David Attenborough’s BBC Earth documentaries. Struck by the storytelling and imagery of these films, she realized she wanted to learn how to get people excited about science and conservation, just like Sir David did. With two degrees focused in science communication under her belt, Lauren is excited to use her skillset to help mobilize knowledge about our natural world and the threats it’s facing.

3. Dayna Scott – A Feminist Political Economy of Ethics and Law: Case of Toxics and Gender

Wednesday, March 9, 2022: 4:10 pm to  6:00 pm ET via Zoom
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Contemporary exposures to toxics flow from extractive logics endemic to capitalism, but they cannot be conceived as just emissions trailing in the wake of extractive industries. Instead we must recognize the exposures are “built-into” those systems and see that they are fuelled by the same hierarchies – of gender, race, Indigeneity etc, that drive accumulation. To overcome these dynamics, I argue that we need to sharpen our analytics – and expand our ethics.

Professor Dayna Nadine Scott joined Osgoode’s faculty in 2006 and is cross-appointed with the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Professor Scott’s teaching is in administrative law, environmental law and justice, risk regulation, and international environmental governance. She is the editor of Our Chemical Selves: Gender, Toxics and Environmental Health (UBC Press, 2015) and the past Director of the National Network on Environments and Women’s Health.