Dr. Harry Spaling

Professor, Geography & Director of Environmental Studies P: 780-465-3500 Ext. 8003 F: 780-465-3534
  • PhD, Geography – rural resource analysis, University of Guelph, 1994
  • M.E. Des. Environmental Science, University of Calgary, 1980
  • B.E.S. Environmental Studies & Geography, University of Waterloo, 1977

Welcome to my Faculty Webpage

I am passionate about caring for creation and serving the poor, especially in Africa, and instilling this same passion in students through my teaching and research.  After seven years as a community agriculturist and country director in Sierra Leone for World Renew Canada, I completed a PhD in geography, specializing in rural resource evaluation, and joined The King’s University in Edmonton, Alberta as its founding Director of Environmental Studies.  I have held various positions at King's but always come back to my passion for teaching creation-care and practicing it through applied research in African communities.

Read more below and see my Curriculum Vitae


  • GEOG 201 Physical Geography
  • GEOG 310 Landscapes & Human Settlements
  • ENVS 300 Humankind and the Biosphere
  • ENVS 410 Resource Planning & Environmental Management
  • ENVS 450 Environmental Impact Assessment
  • ENVS 490 Internship

Research Interests

  • Advancing next-generation strategic environmental assessment in Kenya
  • Participation and learning for sustainable resource-based livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Community-based environmental assessment of local development projects in Africa (e.g., water supply, food security, community forests, wildlife conservancies)
  • African creation wisdom as an indigenous eco-theology

Recent Publications

Walker, H., Spaling, H. and Sinclair, A.J. 2016. Towards a home-grown approach to strategic environmental assessment: adapting practice and participation in Kenya. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (in press). Available online at:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14615517.2016.1176409

Spaling, H. and Vroom, B. 2015. Environmental assessment after the 2004 tsunami: a case study, lessons and prospects. In Thomas B. Fischer (Ed.), Environmental Assessment. Volume 4, Chapter 65. Routledge, Oxford (Critical concepts in the built environment series). [Reprint of Spaling, H. and Vroom, B. 2007. Environmental assessment after the 2004 tsunami: a case study, lessons and prospects. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 25: 43-52.]

Spaling, H., Brouwer, G. and Njoka, J. 2014. Factors affecting the sustainability of a community water supply project in Kenya. Development in Practice 24: 797-811.

Walker, H., Sinclair, A.J. and Spaling, H. 2014. Public participation in and learning through Strategic Environmental Assessment in Kenya. EIA Review 45: 1-9.

Najjar, D., Spaling, H. and Sinclair, A.J. 2013. Learning about sustainability and gender through Farmer Field Schools in the Taita Hills, Kenya. International Journal of Educational Development 33: 466-475. 

Moyer, J., Sinclair, A.J. and Spaling, H. 2012. Working for God and sustainability: The activities of Faith-Based Organizations in Kenya. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 23(4): 959-992.

Spaling, H., Montes, J. and Sinclair, A.J. 2011 Best practices for promoting participation and learning from community-based environmental assessment in Kenya and Tanzania. Journal of Environmental Assessment, Policy and Management 13(3): 343–366.

Collins, S., Sinclair, A.J. and Spaling, H. 2011 The role of participant learning in community conservation in the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, Kenya. Conservation and Society 9(1): 42-53.

Robinson, L., Sinclair, A. J. and Spaling, H. 2010 Traditional pastoralist decision-making processes: Lessons for reforms to water resources management in Kenya. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 53:1-16.

The King's University Appointments

  • Vice-President Academic July 1, 2006 – June 30, 2011
  • Director of Environmental Studies August 1, 1995 – June 30, 2001, and June 1, 2015 - present
  • Assistant, Associate & Full Professor of Geography & Environmental Studies August 1995 - present
  • Adjunct Faculty: Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, 2009-present

Other Appointments

World Renew Canada:

  • Country Director (Sierra Leone) 1984-88
  • Agriculturist (Sierra Leone) 1982-84