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The Geoffrey F. Bruce Fellowship in Canadian Freshwater Policy 2021 recipients

Recipient Profiles

Miranda Black, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc
Miranda Black, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc

Miranda Black is a non-status First Nations student whose lineage stems from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She is a master’s candidate in Ryerson University’s Environmental Applied Science and Management program. Miranda graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Environmental and Urban Sustainability from Ryerson University in 2018. She came to Ryerson University with a background in ecotourism management and has worked with several non-profit organizations as an administrative coordinator and researcher of corporate sustainability and climate risk in the financial sector, including Corporate Knights Magazine, Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health, and EcoSchools Canada.

Miranda is inspired to protect the Great Lakes with respect to her Haudenosaunee ancestors who lived on this land for generations prior to colonial settlement. Her research focuses on Toronto Island, which is a microcosm that is unique to land and water governance in the region and beyond. For generations, these islands have had a strong spiritual connection for the Huron-Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, the Mississauga, the Anishinaabe and other Indigenous groups, which has gone mostly undocumented. When Indigenous Peoples were exiled after the Toronto Purchase, Indigenous Peoples continued to use the island as a camping spot when visiting their traditional territories. The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation filed the Toronto Purchase Land Claim in 1985, and in 2010, the Canadian government settled the land claim, but the land and water claim issues surrounding Toronto Island have not been fully resolved.

Miranda’s research focuses on Toronto Island and surrounding waters and the ways that Indigenous Peoples are calling out for better stewardship of the waters, including water and land claims. Using Indigenous qualitative methods and prioritizing Indigenous history and worldviews, Miranda’s research focuses on conversations and interviews with Indigenous Peoples who live in Toronto and residents of Toronto Island about the significance of human-environmental relationships and documenting their perspectives on water and land claims. Her research also explores how Indigenous views on land and water can provide the foundation for a stewardship approach to water governance and policy in Toronto, Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes region. Her research will make a significant contribution as part of the growing scholarship on how Indigenous views have been excluded in decisions related to water governance and policies even though the pressures on water have a direct impact on First Nations’ constitutional rights and paths to livelihoods. Her research will generate findings that are valuable for Indigenous peoples and include recommendations on how to move Indigenous perspectives and knowledge to the heart of water protection policies and practices, climate adaptation and environmental sustainability in Toronto and the Great Lakes region.

Funding as a Geoffrey Bruce Fellow in Canadian Freshwater Policy will allow Miranda to focus on her thesis research and increase awareness of the importance of Indigenous-led environmental management in the Great Lakes basin and author publications that can be used to support Indigenous knowledge in environment water stewardship and governance.

Andre Setoodeh, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc
Andre Setoodeh, Environmental Applied Science and Management MASc

Andre Setoodeh is a master’s student in the Environmental Applied Science and Management program at Ryerson University. He completed a Bachelor of Environmental Studies focused on policy, resource management and conservation at York University. Andre has worked and volunteered for several years with the Trails Youth Initiative in the Toronto region and with Toronto Water as a summer student assisting with water sampling and inspections.

Andre is interested in municipal water policy and management and the problem of aging water infrastructure. He is interested in generating new water policy knowledge at the municipal level to help policy makers and water managers improve the management of aging water distribution, wastewater and stormwater systems in cities trying to adapt to population growth and climate change. His thesis research focuses on identifying the policy challenges, barriers and gaps that are hindering the rehabilitation and reinvestment in water distribution systems in Toronto and other urban cities. Through an analysis of water asset management plans in a selected set of municipalities across Ontario, his research focuses on identifying best practices, innovative approaches, and strategic investments related to aging water infrastructure and technologies to reduce the frequency of breaks or leaks that cause water quality problems in cities and receiving waters.

Andre’s research will document best practices and generate policy, program and management recommendations to improve water infrastructure management in medium-large cities, including the City of Toronto. His results will be disseminated to municipalities in Ontario and Canada that are currently developing and using asset management plans to address aging water infrastructure and highlight how these plans might be used to advance environmental outcomes in their surrounding waters.

Being the recipient of a Bruce Fellowship in Canadian Freshwater Policy is allowing Andre to focus on his thesis research and produce and disseminate findings that are valuable for Canadian cities facing policy and management related to aging water infrastructure.