Carol McAusland


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Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Healing the land by reclaiming an Indigenous ecology: a journey exploring the application of the Indigenous worldview to invasion biology and ecology (2020)

Using western science as the only worldview when examining complex topics of applied science limits inquiry and understanding. The Indigenous worldview offers an opportunity to renew the way research is done. It opens up new ways for scientists to acquire, comprehend and share knowledge, and helps generate new approaches to solving modern challenges that western science may be ill-equipped to handle on its own. Common approaches to ecological restoration are rooted in colonial concepts of “nature” including native versus non-native dichotomies and constructs of pre-human “naturalness” that disregard the purposeful stewarding and shaping of the lands and waters by Indigenous peoples to meet the needs of human and animal relations. While Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge is increasingly sought in recent years, lack of understanding of its origins, the relational worldview, leaves its full potential unrealized.This thesis follows my journey as an Indigenous invasive species specialist as I set out to answer the following question, "What does the application an Indigenous worldview to ecological restoration tell us about the impacts of invasive species on Indigenous food security and food sovereignty in the context of our changing climate?" Working with Cowichan Tribes’ staff, Elders, and other traditional knowledge holders as co-authors, I gathered oral histories, stories, and perspectives on the related topics of ecology, climate change, history, and food security. These histories and stories, along with relational methods of land observation, revealed an Indigenous ecology that departs from dualistic concepts of species belongingness and Eden-based ecological restoration goals. In response to the stories collected, my co-authors and I formulated new terminology for land healing, and created a new framework to guide land management decision-making reflective of an Indigenous worldview and cultural values; this framework allows us to redefine and reclaim practice that protect food security and sovereignty for generations to come. My journey, and this thesis, demonstrate the power of the Indigenous worldview to illuminate new paths of scientific inquiry and expand our understanding of complex issues.

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Essays on the economics of environmental regulation (2018)

Environmental regulations targeting producers are in place around much of the world. Yet, there is limited evidence of how firms are affected by these policies. This thesis provides new empirical and theoretical evidence on the effects of environmental regulation on producers.The first two chapters of this thesis explore a trend underway in much of the industrialized world: pollution from manufacturing has been falling despite increased output. In the first chapter, we develop a theoretical model to show the channels through which regulation can contribute to an industry’s “clean-up”. This model highlights the role that fixed costs producers must pay to adopt cleaner production processes play in dictating these channels. We show that if these fixed costs are relatively low, the adoption of cleaner processes will be the primary regulatory channel of an industry’s clean-up. However, if these fixed costs are relatively high, then plant exit and reductions in output from regulated plants will be the primary channels.The second chapter provides the first estimates of the regulatory channels of the manufacturing clean-up. We estimate the share of the Canadian manufacturing clean-up explained by the adoption of cleaner production processes, the reallocation of output across producers, and producer entry and exit. To do this, we examine a major revision to Canadian environmental policy using a novel, confidential dataset containing information on the production decisions and pollution emissions of Canadian manufacturing plants. We find regulation explains, at most, 61% of the Canadian clean-up, but the underlying channels differ strikingly across pollutants.A concern in debates over environmental regulation is a potential loss of international competitiveness among domestic producers. Despite its pervasiveness in policy discussions, evidence of these losses remains scarce. The third chapter of this thesis provides the first plant-level estimates of the effect of air pollution regulation on exporting. We study the effects of the Canada-Wide Standards for Particulate Matter and Ozone on the decision to export and export volumes of Canadian manufacturing facilities. We find evidence that environmental regulation caused relatively low-productivity exporters to leave the export market, and reduced the amount surviving exporters sold abroad.

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