Paivi Abernethy (Unversity of Waterloo)

"I approach waste issues through children's environmental health threats (primarily endocrine disruptors) and how to improve knowledge base needed for decision-making and policy development. I am a transdisciplinary researcher with a PhD in Social and Ecological Sustainability (University of Waterloo, Canada), MRes in Health Research (Lancaster University, UK), and MSc in Biochemistry (University of Copenhagen, Denmark). As a former private sector scientist and a public health practitioner, I am trying to bring together knowledge from the academic, public, and private sectors in a more constructive manner. In general, my research centres on bridging health and sustainability, with emphasis on community-capacity building, environmental justice, governance and policy. 

I see waste-related environmental pollution as a problem that threatens public health and ecosystem wellbeing to a much greater extent than the climate change. However, my research related to waste takes primarily a community-based systems approach engaging appreciative inquiry and empowerment as mechanisms to explore environmental health challenges and their potential solutions.

I am engaged in a number of projects in Canada and abroad, such as 'Reclaiming Balance: Developing a First Nations’ Children's Environmental Health Equity Assessment Tool' with the Centre for Environmental Health Equity ( For the time being, my academic affiliations are Leuphana University in Luneburg, Germany, as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the 'Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformation' project (, and the department of Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo, as Adjunct Professor."

Connect with me on my personal website as well as on Research Gate.

Associated REsearch Groups/Projects

Reclaiming Balance: Developing a First Nations’ Children's Environmental Health Equity Assessment Tool with the Centre for Environmental Health Equity

Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformation Project