Dr. Harry Spaling

Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies & Geography

P: 780-465-3500 Ext. 8003
  • 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


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

Read more below and see his Curriculum Vitae.


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.


Dosu, B.Jr., Hanrahan, M., Johnston, T. and Spaling, H. 2022. Assessing the policy gaps of decentralized rural water management: qualitative evidence from Ghana. Water International. In print. https://doi.org/10.1080/02508060.2022.2098454

Mwangi, J., Njoka, J. and Spaling, H. 2021. The cultural beliefs, values and utilization of East Africa Sandalwood Osyris lanceolate Hochst & Steudel in and around Chyulu Hills Ecosystem, Kenya. Ethnobotany Research & Applications.  22: 1-18.  Published online 2021-07-11. https://ethnobotanyjournal.org/index.php/era/article/view/2663

Sandham, L., Spaling, H. and Chabalala, J. 2019. Participatory rural appraisal approaches for public participation in EIA: Lessons from South Africa. Land. 8(10): 150-166. Published online 12 October 2019 https://doi.org/10.3390/land8100150

Ozoike-Dennis, P., Spaling, H., Sinclair, A.J. and Walker, H. 2019. SEA, urban plans and solid waste management in Kenya: Participation and learning for sustainable cities. Journal of Environmental Assessment, Policy and Management21(4): 22 pages. Published online 1 November 2019 https://doi.org/10.1142/S1464333219500182

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