James J. Kay

I have a tenured faculty appointment at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) but I have been on indefinite leave since August 2002. From 1982 till August 2002 I was in Environment and Resources Studies. I was also cross appointed to the department of Systems Design Engineering, and at various points to the School of Planning, the department of Geography, and the department of Management Sciences at Waterloo and the School of Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph.

"The law that entropy increases - the Second Law of Thermodynamics - holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the Universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the Second Law of Thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation."
- Sir Arthur Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World. New York: MacMillian; 1930.

   Short Biography (the official sort) (updated November 2002)

  Papers I have written and talks I have given. (updated October 2002)

   Various work of my students (including graduate theses) (updated March 2002)

   Home pages of graduate students (updated January 2001)

   About (These are in the process of being refurbished.)
The Ecosystem Approach (updated March 2002)
An adaptive ecosystem approach based on a Self-organizing Hierarchical Open (SOHO) Systems persepctive and descriptions (updated March 2002)
The diamond diagram and variations (updated March 2002)
Thermodynamics and Ecology (updated March 2002)
The Systems Approach (updated July 1999)
Complexity and Self-organization (updated July 1999)
Post Normal Science (to appear soon)
Exergy (updated May 2002)
  Musings on this and that (updated December 2002)

   Official UW style Curriculum Vitae (updated November 2002)

   My research interests (updated Winter 2000)


Courses which I taught and have designed WWW pages for:

SD761/ERS675S: The epistomology of systems thinking

ERS 218: Introduction to Sustainable Environmental and Resource Systems
Introductory lectures on systems thinking, energy, water and waste management systems, complex systems dynamics, sustainable livelihoods, ecological integrity, ecological footprint, industrial ecology and life cycle analysis can be found on this site: ersserver.uwaterloo.ca/jjkay/ers218/lecture.html

ERS 305/ 605: The Ecosystem Approach
This site includes a listing and commentary on some of the crucial papers on the Ecosystem Approach

ERS 285: Greening the Campus
(This is the course on sustainability mentioned in the April 2001 issue of University Affairs.)

ERS 385: Technologies and Lifestyles for a Conserver Society

ME 772/ 592 Urbanization: Can We Design With Nature?

ERS 669 Project Work in Environmental Studies

ERS 390 Project work in Environmental Studies

Some service work that I have had the privilege and pleasure of doing:

Vice-president of the Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health (NESH) (The site is under construction)

Founding member of the Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education (AC-ERE) of the American National Science Foundation (NSF) (2000-2003). I served as the chair of the AC-ERE task group for strategic planning for environmental research and education and the task group for future directions for environmental research and education. In January 2003 the committee released a ten-year outlook for environmental research and education at NSF: Complex Environmental Systems: Synthesis for Earth, Life, and Society in the 21st Century.

Founding chair of the UW WATgreen committee (1990-95, chair) (1996-2002, committee member). Dozens of student projects devoted to campus greening can be found on the WATgreen site which I created. WATgreen is featured in an article in the April 2001 issue of University Affairs.

Founding member (1991- 2000) of the city of Kitchener Environmental Committee. This committee has produced a strategic plan for the environment, (theme areas) which is now on its third revision.

Check out our ecosystem management project:
The Huron Natural Area WWW site.
and the master plan for the site (March, 2001).

Mailing address:
James J Kay
Environment and Resource Studies
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario
N2L 3G1

N.B. I no longer have an office at UW nor am I involved in any teaching or graduate student supervision. (These are university rules, not my choice.)

e-mail: jjkay@uwaterloo.ca N.B. 90% of my e-mail is spam, so please put a subject line that is appropriate and please be patient about the time it takes me to respond.

A closing reflection from the Book of Wisdom of the Old Testament of the Roman Catholic Bible.

Wisdom 13:1-9

All people who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know the one who exists, nor did they recognize the artisan while paying heed to his works; but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world.

If through delight in the beauty of these things people assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them. And if people were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is the one who formed them. For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.

Yet these people are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him. For while they live among his works, they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful.

Yet again, not even they are to be excused; for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?

URL: www.jameskay.ca

Last updated 8 September, 2003