Krysta Sutton presented some early work at the OFI network meeting in St. John’s this week.
The Ocean Frontier Institute has provided seed funding to Krysta Sutton to support the second year of her research on the otherwise NRCan-funded Making Room for Movement project led from SMU. She traveled to St. John’s this week for their network meeting to present early results from her qualitative analysis of this summer’s online focus groups with coastal residents of Nova Scotia. Some of those findings can be read from the headings on the poster: climate impacts residents see are (surprisingly) similar across coasts, most of the responses to those impacts that are seen are ‘hard line’ (e.g. seawalls), and they support the idea of ‘living shorelines’ approaches such as restoring tidal marshes, or planting up eroding coasts, but are a bit skeptical of their effectiveness.
Discourse about ‘farmer’s perceptions’ by region – Figure 1 of ‘Are we taking farmers seriously?’, Soubry et al. in press.
Short answer: No. The first paper is out from Bernard Soubry’s Oxford PhD (which I’m co-supervising), and it is a systematic literature review in Journal of Rural Studies of research on farmer perceptions of climate change, 2007-2018. Very interesting patterns emerged from the 105 papers reviewed, including that the work is dominated by those seeking to ‘test’ farmer perceptions of climate change, rather than leverage them, and that the work is largely done in the Global South. Bernard describes this work as largely seeing farmers as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘verifiable’ rather than viably adapting, and tracks some of the colonial undertones at play. Congratulations, Bernard.
This is my earnest face.
CBC came calling this week about the recent letter in Bioscience warning about a “climate emergency”, on which I’m a signatory (along with 11,000 other scholars). Part of the press on this story is that it has not just been climate scientists signing on, but researchers from a wide range of fields including social science: climate touches us all. Kayla Hounsell and cameraman Steve visited my office yesterday for a quick explanation on why I signed, and it screened last night as part of a story about climate action in the Nova Scotia town of Berwick, after host Andrew Chang outlined the letter and its recommendations. During my email exchange earlier with Kayla, I explained my reasons for signing (little of which made it into my 20 seconds on air):
Briefly, I am concerned with ways to rewrite our landscapes and lifestyles for the scale of the changes we are facing. It is clear to me that we have great capacity for altruism and collective action if we perceive an emergency, such as in big storms or wartime mobilization, but we also have great capacity for inertia if all the signals we get are that there is potential it could be someone else’s problem. That’s why I signed. Anything that could expedite a sense of urgency among people and politicians is to be encouraged, as long as it is followed with action, rather than simply inoculate us against it.
A few years ago when my lab was given the opportunity by ECCC’s SARPAL program to initiate the first farmer incentive program in Nova Scotia for species-at-risk habitat management, I was a bit worried about introducing payments into a space where I already knew farmers were pretty supportive of biodiversity. Kate Goodale‘s and Simon Greenland-Smith‘s theses, and some of our later work together, demonstrated the ‘balance’ mindset farmers have toward wildlife and habitat. I was concerned that such intrinsic motivations would be crowded out by the payments, either for those who receive them, or for those who see others receiving them. We designed research around our new program, Wood Turtle Strides (WTS), to allow for pre- and post-tests of motivations around riparian management among those eligible and participating in WTS, as well as an experimental survey with other farmers in the province. We were unable to measure crowding among participants, for a few reasons (in part because of the small first-year n, but also because the program is not yet done), but there was no indication of second-hand crowding. The paper on this work is out today in The Canadian Geographer.
It’s recruiting time, and I currently can offer up to three possible positions for students starting in fall 2020. More may become available in the spring as word comes about grants, but for the time being, I’d be keen to hear from students interested in the following projects:
- Cultural ecosystem services in Bay of Fundy dykelands and salt marshes. I am looking for up to two MES to tackle research on how settlers and Mi’kmaq use and value the drained agricultural land (dykelands) and the salt marshes they replaced (and to which sections will return if abandoned or realigned). These students will become part of the Atlantic landscape case of NSERC ResNet, a national collaborative project designed to develop the utility of ecosystems service approaches for resolving complex resource decisions. Candidates should be socially curious, ideally trained in social science fields (e.g. first degrees in Geography, Environmental Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Planning) and interested in methods such as quantitative surveys and/or semi-structured interviews. First Nation students are particularly encouraged to apply.
- Manufacturing envy: discourses of consumption and amenity in property television. I have offered up this topic to this year’s SRES Legacy Scholarship program. The ideal candidate is a high-achieving Canadian citizen or PR, as the Legacy is limited to Canadians with a two-year GPA above 4. Suitable backgrounds would include Geography, Environmental Studies, Anthropology, Planning or Visual Art.
If you are interested, please read this before you get in touch to express interest. If you can get in touch before additional scholarship deadlines start closing in early December, that would be ideal.