Colin O'Neil participated in the 2013 Sustainable Living Leadership Program. Growing up in New Westminster, he has had a long-standing connection to the industrial Fraser River. On the SLLP he was able to connect with other parts of the river and the people who call these parts home. In addition to a deep-seeded love and respect for rivers, Colin has a fascination with space and the ways it is imagined, managed and occupied. Following the 2013 trip, he organized a public dialogue around sustainable uses of urban space in New Westminster. Colin studied Geography and History at Simon Fraser University, is a part-time writer and full time adventurer
In 2017, Colin finished his Masters in Geography at York University. His thesis looked at conservation in the Peel Watershed, Yukon Territory by examining modern conservation values, the concept of wilderness, and First Nations' connection to and management of the land. In March, 2017, First Nations and conservation groups presented their case for conservation to the Supreme Court of Canada and in December, 2017, the courts ruled in their favour, indicating that environmental decision making must include those who use and live on the land. What's more, Yukon First Nations' ever-increasing political autonomy illustrates how conservation and environmental management across Canada are changing, as society works to make decisions about the land in a more democratic, inclusive, and reconciliatory way.
If you wish to read the thesis (or the summary), you can do so here: https://yorku.academia.edu/CONeil. Or, if you want to contact the author about this research, please contact Colin by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colin is currently a gardener-baker on a mini-homestead in Eastern Ontario. He has many plans to continue his explorations of the mountains and rivers of the Fraser River Watershed.