Very glad, after a long gestation, to be able to share a new paper out in Energy Research & Social Science today, Does noticing energy infrastructure influence public support for energy development? Evidence from a national survey in Canada. This paper uses a large national sample of Canadians (n=3000) surveyed back in 2014 to explore the impacts of exposure to energy infrastructure on support for that and other technologies. It suggests that reporting noticing ANY energy infrastructure, even just transmission lines, is reliably associated with support for renewables. Does this mean we should stop trying to hide energy infrastructure? Maybe that is too rash: we don’t know the direction of causality in that relationship. But it seems not a giant conceptual leap to suggest that if we are regularly confronted with the means of our energy production we might be moved to conserve energy or limit the impacts of its supply via technology shifts.
Hard at work while Andy Gonzalez and Marie-Josee Fortin talk monitoring.
Cleared by surgeon to return to work last Monday. Left that afternoon for a two-day trip to Montreal for a workshop to plan a new NSERC project using ecosystem services to aid decision-making in production landscapes. Landscape and thematic teams from across the country joined with engaged partners from across the public and private sector, all inspired by the big vision and strong leadership of Prof Elena Bennett. Thrilled to be co-leading the Atlantic case study for this big new proposal, with such a great interdisciplinary team, and also enjoyed being the SSHRC devil’s advocate in the mix.
Our in-house SRES Legacy Scholarships will be offered again in 2019, and I have pitched in a project called, Last one in, shut the door: Understanding local experiences of urban densification. It is one of up to 8 projects available to high-performing Canadian students who are thinking early for our next MES intake. A short description of my pitch follows; get in touch if you think you’re a good fit:
Most of us now live in cities. Experts advocate for more compact urban forms, rather than sprawl, to improve carbon footprints, as well as cultural vitality, economic activity and public health in cities. Compact cities are more walkable and have more effective public transit, and the numbers of people working and sleeping there are boons for businesses and cultural institutions alike. For most cities to become compact requires the densification of existing neighbourhoods. Like renewable energy, densification goals are often supported in general, but support weakens upon application. Locals often fight to maintain the status quo in the face of densification developments. The success of those residents depends in part on their social position. This research will explore the local experiences of urban densification planning, using case studies yet to be determined and the emerging concept of ‘climax thinking’, to identify social leverage points for urban transformation towards sustainability.
Energy Transitions collaborator and friend Dr. John Parkins has been in the news this week, talking about recent results published in Energy Policy about residential solar technology adoption in Canada. In the U of A news feed, Folio, John is quoted: “If you are immersed in an environment where these technologies are all around you, they become more familiar and doable”. This shows how important landscape norms are to our shared and individual sense of what is possible and desirable. He goes on to advocate more numerous and prominent installations of solar infrastructure in public buildings, to expedite the creation of norms that facilitate a transition to renewable energies like solar. View the great Global News interview with John here.