The third and final paper from Bernard Soubry’s PhD thesis is finally out in Land Use Policy, “You keep using that word…”: Disjointed definitions of resilience in food systems adaptation. Usually, when people use quotes at the start of a paper title, it comes from something one of the participants said. This time, it comes from The Princess Bride, a favourite movie in our house (in which the word in question is “inconceivable”). The term resilience is one of those panchrestons that can be difficult to grapple with, but Bernard did a great job of deconstructing its use in his interviews with Maritime farmers, and contrasting that with expressions of resilience in the same House and Senate reviews of agriculture and climate change that former postdoc Wes Tourangeau used in his last paper with me. Such secondary data sources provide a rare insight into the world of policy. This is also a great example of a qualitative ‘killer viz’ that draws on rich inductive coding without quantification.
Delighted to report that our Making Room for Movement project, funded by Natural Resources Canada Climate Change Adaptation Fund and ably led by PI Danika van Proosdij out of SMU, now has a final report available to all. This report, which we’ve been calling the Framework, is a synthesis of several years of research in this project by my lab (Krysta Sutton’s MES on coastal resident focus groups and climax thinking) and that of Patricia Manuel and Eric Rapaport at Planning (who among other things prepared six excellent case studies of ‘making room for movement’ in Nova Scotia), engaging with Danika’s TransCoastal Adaptations: Centre for Nature-based Solutions that is involved in on-ground dyke realignment, tidal wetland restoration and other living shorelines projects. Colleagues like Caytlyn McFadden, Yvonne Reeves were critical in synthesis mode and Postdoctoral fellow HM Tuihedur Rahman helped draw insights for the literature; and great partners like CB Wetlands, CBCL and the Ecology Action Centre helped us ground our insights.
We had a fun (and rare) lab meeting on Tuesday to workshop a collaborative project inspired by the visit of Chinese PhD student Qiqi Zhao. The SolVES methods she has used so far in her research in Nanjing require some adjustment to explore rural Nova Scotia. This project will bring together the expertise of students I am working with around culturomics and social media methods generally (Mehrnoosh, Yan, Keshava, Keahna), including manual and machine learning approaches, and cultural ecosystem services and relational values (Emily, Mehrnoosh, Qiqi, Yan), including quite a few who have already engaged in the Bay of Fundy target system (Emily, Mehrnoosh, Yan). An exciting nexus of skills and interests as we set about establishing a better understanding of those tricky non-material services and values on the multifunctional Bay of Fundy coast.
Proud to see Mehrnoosh Mohammadi ably defend her MES about energy infrastructure in vineyards on Friday, starting with a strong presentation of the mixed methods and findings, followed by questions from her committee and examiner and an in camera deliberation. I’ve never seen so many guests at a defense; Mehrnoosh had many friends and family calling in from near and far to support her, as well as a few students and other scholars. My SRES colleague Dr. Michelle Adams was an excellent examiner, bringing lots of ideas from her work at the interface of sustainability and business, and my former postdoc Dr. H. M. Tuihedur Rahman provided wonderful support as committee member and stats expert. Dr. Heather Cray chaired it in record time. The work was funded by SSHRC, thanks to an IDG led by Dr. Kirby Calvert, a Nova Scotia Graduate Scholarship, and a Parya Scholarship. Thanks to all who helped it happen, and of course congratulations to Mehrnoosh.
As in October, I have been too busy to blog this month but plenty has been happening. Gillian Kerr started working for ResNet L1 part time as a research associate to help with data stewardship and knowledge exchange. ResNet HQP Emily Wells and partner CMM’s Kara Pictou did a pilot interview for their shared work on Traditional Knowledge and climate change and the interviews are coming next. We had the first committee meeting for Keahna Margeson’s OGEN IDPhD about coastal adaptation, which includes an interdisciplinary team across SRES, Information Management, Planning, Kings, and the National Research Council. I made it up to see the Truro Onslow dyke realignment and tidal wetland restoration project (the one covered in this OECD report and this paper) during the last set of ‘high’ high tides, after the dyke was finally breached. The above photo was taken then, around 4:30 pm, and the bird life in the flooded former dykeland was cacophonous! A good sign for the biodiversity benefits of this ambitious project as well as the climate resilience benefits.
Former postdoc, HM Tuihedur Rahman, who led the paper linked above about the Truro case study, also led another recent paper in Climate Risk Management that features among the three other authors two of my lab alumni, former postdoc Wesley Tourangeau and PhD alum Bernard Soubry. Great to see such synthesis work emerging from trainees working directly together: A framework for using autonomous adaptation as a leverage point in sustainable climate adaptation.
Finally, I had fun participating in the book launch for the recent volume co-edited by Susana Batel and David Rudolph, A critical approach to the social acceptance of renewable energy infrastructures, published this year by Palgrave McMillin and available free online. Frequent collaborator John Parkins and I wrote a chapter in that volume with MES alum Ellen Chappell about the value of quantitative methods in critical social acceptance work on energy. The event was fascinating, and to my surprise the critical perspective of some presenters about renewable energy was in tension with the fast transition discourse coming from COP26.