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Linking Ocean Health and Human Health: Coastal Security and Sustainability in Haida Gwaii

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    Dr. Philip Loring University of Saskatchewan

Examining residents’ relationships with coastal and marine seascapes and identifying shared factors regarding sustainability and security in the coastal and marine context.

Many coastal communities in Canada and elsewhere are under stress as a result of challenges such as climate change and increased industrial development of fisheries, oil, and other resources.

This project seeks to improve understanding of these challenges from an applied research and a community resilience/health policy perspective. This project employs ethnographic and participatory, community-based research methods to craft working definitions and social indicators of sustainability and health in the Haida Gwaii marine environment.

This project is an international collaboration with universities and federal research centers in the US and the Council of the Haida Nation.

In terms of knowledge creation, an innovative model for linking human health and ecosystem health has been developed and written.  This will guide the analysis of data moving forward. 


  • Megan Hinzman University of Saskatchewan


  • Hinzman,Megan,Loring,Philip,Hanna Neufeld.. 2016, Can People Be Sentinels of Sustainability? Identifying the Linkages among Ecosystem Health and Human Well-Being, FACETS 1, 148,10.1139/facets-2016-0022..

A set of collaboratively-identified social indicators of marine sustainability and health will be developed that can be used by local managers who desire social benchmarks for decision making.

Local community members will benefit from being given a voice in creating these indicators. These will be useful also to other large-scale international research projects on ocean health and ocean tipping points. Finally, a policy analysis will reveal whether such indicators are compatible with existing policies and mandates for environmental management.