This “Just Environments” contribution from Rick Hendriks, Philip Raphals, Karen Bakker, and Gordon Christie focuses on the adverse environmental, socio-legal, and economic impacts of Site C, a large-scale hydropower project in British Columbia. Based on in-depth analysis, the authors suggest that construction of Site C would violate First Nations Treaty rights, result in a loss of biodiversity, and generate greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, Site C is more expensive than other renewable alternatives. They call for the cancellation of the Site C project, raising broader questions about the role of hydropower in a carbon-constrained world.
Karen Bakker is a professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia, where she is the director of the Program on Water Governance. A Rhodes Scholar with a PhD from Oxford University, she was named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 in 2011.
The author of more than 100 academic publications, Bakker has published books with Oxford, Cornell, UBC, and University of Toronto Presses. Her work has been published in leading academic journals and translated into Spanish, French, and Korean. She has been an invited speaker at the Oxford, Berkeley, Harvard, and Stanford—where she spent the 2015/2016 academic year as a sabbatical fellow jointly hosted by the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences and the Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences.
Fluent in French and Spanish, Bakker regularly acts as an advisor to governments and nongovernmental and international organizations. She is a board member of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. She also actively engages in public policy debates and has published widely for the popular press, including op-eds and articles in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and the Sunday Times.
In 2014, Bakker was named a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s New College of Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.