Stéphane McLachlan

1. A little bit about you. This is the fun, personal side. Some possible things you can include (and of course people don’t have to share anything they don’t want to):

  • Where did you grow up? Hong Kong (the most densely populated city in the world that only grows skyscrapers; Ennismore (Ontario, Canada; a rural region that only grows rocks)
  • A little about your family (past or present) Met my partner (Shereen) as an undergrad 22 years ago at McMaster; have two amazing kids (Ishaan, 12 yoa; Jaiyan, 6 yoa)
  • What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies? Can you spell w-o-r-k-a-h-o-l-i-c? Am watching way too much World Cup these days, and always chauffeuring our (and other) kids to hockey games and practices across Manitoba, even in June.
  • Why is water important to you? Grew up on the ocean (Hong Kong), then Lake Chemong (Ennismore), and now focus on water-related research in the North while learning about its importance from Indigenous communities
  • What inspires you to do the work you do? Excited undergrad students discovering the world (the world as I see it anyway), and making a difference and working towards environmental and social justice, on- but especially off-campus
  • A funny fact or anecdote about yourself. Funny-sad; my favourite food is dim sum, but am allergic to shrimp. I like action movies: the dumber, the better. And, according to my family at least, my nickname is “wrong-way”, reflecting my impeccable sense of direction.

2. What your areas of expertise are. This is the professional side. Some things to possibly include:

  • What types of projects have you worked on and where? With who? Cross-cultural research linking environmental and social sciences with traditional and local knowledge. These projects have related to the Oil Sands, hydro-development, food sovereignty, prion disease (CWD, mad cow), nanotech, and GM crops. We have created three major research film documentaries, the best known of which (Seeds of Change) has a website that has been viewed almost three million times. All of this work is conducted in close collaboration with Indigenous and rural communities.
  • What core ‘themes’ do you focus on in your work? Five major themes of research interest: i) Environmental justice: socio-environmental and health implications of the Oil Sands and other industrial development for downstream Indigenous communities in northern Alberta and NWT. This work is conducted in close collaboration with affected communities. We will soon be distributing our most recent film documentary. Website: ii) Food justice in urban, rural, and northern Manitoba as facilitated by our SSHRC CURA (Manitoba Alternative Food Research Alliance), a research network made up of 15 academics and 60 NGOs. Website: iii) Implications of hydro-development for affected Indigenous communities, as facilitated by an emerging community-NGO-university network, the Keewatin Public Interest Research Group (K-PIRG). iv) Knowledge exchange (KE) among Indigenous communities and with outsider stakeholders, including academics, government, civil society, and industry, related to northern industrial development. Website that facilitates such KE related to the Oil Sands: v) Environmental education, as facilitated by experiential and cross-cultural community-based initiatives
  • What do you bring to the DDN and to the partnership? What will your role be? Was initially approached because of our four years of research and KE in the region, but am hoping this role will evolve with the partnership

3. What you are most excited about with the DDN?

  • Meeting and collaborating with new people in and outside academic, learning new things, and helping contribute to further positive change in the region

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