KAMLOOPS — More and more, the cost to the environment is being taken into account when large resource extraction projects are being proposed. One needs to look no further than the proposed KGHM-Ajax Mine project to understand the potential backlash a company can face when a large project conflicts with some peoples ideas of what is or isn’t environmentally responsible. This year, Thompson Rivers University is offering a Graduate degree program that focuses on the fine line between protecting the environment and ensuring these types of projects can succeed.
The new Master and Master of Science in Environmental Economics and Management degrees welcomed the first eleven students into the program this fall. The degrees are designed to combine fiscal responsibility with environmental management, a field which is gaining more visibility, especially in light of controversial projects like the proposed KGHM-Ajax Mine.
“We live in an economy where we do depend on resources, but we want to manage them in an environmentally sustainable way,” Dr Laura Lamb explained. “One of the taglines for some of our marketing [for the program] is ‘Profit or Planet? Choose both.’”
Within the relationship between business and government, aboriginal interests have become a factor when it comes to making decisions surround large resource extraction projects. One need only look at the St’kemlupstemc the Secwepemc Nation's decision last spring to the rejection of the Ajax Mine project, because of the potential for harm it could do the surrounding landscape.
For Dr Lamb, who is the coordinator of the new program, welcoming the first students into to program is exciting, was the new degrees have been several years in the making. TRU has also established itself as a leader in the field of sustainability when it relates to other disciplines, such as business.
“A number of our researchers do research in the area of environmental sustainability,” Dr Lamb told CFJC Today. “It mixes well with the regional economy.”
Thompson Rivers University is banking on the demand for these types of professionals, as demands for resources, jobs, and environmentally sound practices grow.
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