Jeremy Schmidt shares his thoughts on environmental management, critical issues in his field and the role of the social sciences and humanities in shaping Canada’s future:
█ What aspect of your research work do you personally find most fascinating?
░ What I find most interesting is how much we value water, yet how little we understand the history of our ideas about it. Our accepted understandings of water often crowd out other ways of thinking and, as a consequence, other ways of designing institutions and policies.
█ What aspect of environmental management is most crucial for Canadians to better understand?
░ First, Canadians need to understand that our country was built through a series of treaties and agreements with indigenous peoples with whom we share our environment. We must respect these agreements.
Also, we are all aware of water’s importance. Managing it effectively presents an enormous opportunity for creating a more just society.
█ In what area(s) do you see the greatest potential for social sciences and humanities research to make a greater contribution to knowledge?
░ We are often inundated with information; but information is not neutral. It is produced through social practices that support particular understandings of things like water.
The social sciences and humanities are critical to helping us understand not simply that our knowledge doesn’t mirror reality, but that our practices result from social and political dynamics.