The Cumulative Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC) is a research and outreach initiative at the University of Northern British Columbia’s (UNBC) Prince George campus. CIRC is collaboratively led by the Health Research Institute (HRI), the Community Development Institute (CDI), and the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute (NRESi), with funding support from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and the BC Oil and Gas Commission (administered through UNBC’s Office of Research). CIRC was established as a result of a 2014 event at UNBC exploring the topic of cumulative impacts on northern communities.
You can download a one-page description of CIRC with our contact information below:
For an overview of the CIRC's research and outreach activities, we invite you to review our 2016 and 2017 Annual Reports, found below:
What are cumulative impacts?
- Environment: reductions in streamflow volume due to municipal or industrial water withdrawal
- Community: changing patterns of investment and divestment in community infrastructure and social services associated with the boom and bust of natural resource operations
- Health: increases in the incidence of harmful algal blooms and drinking water contamination from rising temperatures associated with global climate change
In other words, impacts unfold over long time horizons. To put it bluntly, cumulative impacts are what we live and experience on a daily basis as informed by historical decisions and land use.
CIRC’s mission is to provide a platform for dialogue and research on the cumulative impacts of resource development across northern BC from environmental, community, and health perspectives.
CIRC will aim to achieve its mission through a range of research and community outreach activities. These include, but are not limited to:
- Engaging with and addressing community concerns through a variety of engagement venues including town halls, policy forums, and workshops
- Using community concerns to generate original research on cumulative impacts that is forward-looking and solutions-oriented
- Translating knowledge on cumulative impacts into a framework for future research and policy development
Organization, Governance and People
CIRC is governed by a Project Lead, a Steering Committee, and an Advisory Committee.
CIRC Research Lead
Marieka Sax is a Research Associate with the CIRC and holds a PhD and MA in Anthropology from Carleton University. She was born in Saskatchewan, grew up on Vancouver Island, and spent several years in Peru conducting research on indigeneity, traditional medicine, rural production, and community relations around resource extraction. Marieka brings a commitment to making sense of the particular in relation to wider webs of significance in her current work on resource development in British Columbia.
CIRC Steering Committee
The CIRC Steering Committee provides strategic oversight to all of CIRC’s research projects and engagement activities. The Steering Committee is comprised of faculty and research representatives from the HRI, CDI, and NRESi, the UNBC PICS representative, and the CIRC Project Lead.
Current members of the CIRC Steering Committee include:
- Marieka Sax, CIRC Operations Lead
- Chris Buse, CIRC Alumnus
- Art Fredeen, NRESi Faculty Representative
- Greg Halseth, CDI Faculty Representative
- Marleen Morris, CDI Research Representative
- Margot Parkes, HRI Faculty Representative
- Rachael Wells, HRI Research Representative
- Al Wiensczyk, NRESi Research Representative
CIRC Advisory Committee
The Advisory Committee is a pan-northern group of committed and engaged individuals that provide advice to the Project Lead and Steering Committee. The Advisory Committee shares diverse perspectives, experience and knowledge from First Nations, government, civil society, industry and the public to provide insight into how to best carry out CIRC’s research and outreach activities. The Advisory Committee is chaired by the CIRC Project Lead. The Advisory Committee currently includes Andy Ackerman, Charl Badenhorst, Joan Chess, Nicole Cross, John Disney, Sandra Harris, Lana Lowe, Alan Madrigga, Wayne Salewski, Rob Spitzer, and Viva Wolf.