Hot on the heels of Gardenio da Silva’s MES thesis defense, his first paper is out this morning in Energy Research & Social Science, Do methods used in social impact assessment adequately capture impacts? An exploration of the research-practice gap using hydroelectricity in Canada. Gardenio reviewed publicly available social impact assessments (SIAs) from 37 hydroelectricity projects in Canada to see what methods are being used to understand baseline conditions and anticipate impacts. Not surprisingly, the methods are dominated by open houses and census-based input/output tables, the approaches that are best able to be controlled by proponents and consultants. About half used interviews, and a quarter or less more rigorous approaches like participatory mapping or surveys, but most methods were poorly described. The range of impacts vary similarly: all SIAs looked at demographic change, infrastructure impacts and job creation, but fewer than half tackled issues such as gender, equity, crime, substance abuse, etc (see above). The number of methods employed was more correlated with the size of the project (p<0.001) than how recent it is (p<0.05). The paper makes some recommendations about improvements that could be made in SIA practice, and segues nicely to Gardenio’s second paper about monitoring, which should be coming along soon.
I don’t live on the Northwest Arm but walk along it most mornings, whether a loop before I start home office work in the morning (see above) or along the other side if walking in to Dal. This narrow ‘arm’ of ocean is an amenity shared by so many people in Halifax and makes me feel lucky and connected to other citizens. I don’t think anyone would think it belongs to those who own waterfront on it, nor should it. Yet a loophole exists in the form of pre-Confederation deeded water lots, designed to allow shore owners–many of which at the time were industrial–allocations for docks and wharves. These days wealthy landowners not satisfied with their privileged positions fight to be permitted to fill in those water lots and convert them to private use. Each one directs hundreds of dumptrucks of fill down residential streets, into an ocean ecosystem fished for lobster, narrowing the channel and disrupting public use. The problem is that Halifax and the province currently have no jurisdiction to stop it. Once it becomes land, they can regulate what is done on them (if you read the link above, not much is permitted), but until then the only jurisdiction is Transport Canada on the basis of navigability. If all water lots were filled in, the arm would be 30% smaller and the opening halved, but there is no consideration of cumulative effects. Thanks to the Ecology Action Centre and a small interest group, this issue has been in the news and raised now in Senate by Independent Senator Colin Deakin, calling for a freeze on approving such applications. This week, an application was lodged by Andrew Metledge to infill his water lot, using 7650 cubic metres of fill (see the image below) and as of today we have 26 days to stop it if the Minister for Transport does not grant this freeze. Please consider taking a few minutes to make a public comment and/or sign the petition.
ResNet is up and running, and the primary research outcomes are starting to roll in from our Bay of Fundy dykeland landscape case study. It is thus time to recruit a postdoctoral fellow to help us integrate that work and start bringing it together into a modelling context so that we can better understand the ecosystem service implications of decisions such as dyke reinforcement or dyke realignment and salt marsh restoration, and for which beneficiaries. We are currently accepting applications for a two-year postdoctoral fellow in the field of Integrating, modelling, and translating the ecosystem services implications of land use on the Bay of Fundy coast, starting September 2021 or as soon as possible after that. Please see the full job ad here: ResNet L1PDF1 postdoc advertisement. We will start reviewing applications on July 1, 2021, so if you want to be in that first phase of review, please submit your materials by midnight Atlantic time, June 30, 2021. But the job is open until filled.
Several colleagues and I are excited to offer a lucrative PhD fellowship within the Tier 1 Ocean Graduate Excellence Network (OGEN), in collaboration with Canada’s National Research Council, with the topic of Understanding social license for nature-based coastal adaptation: a longitudinal culturomic approach. The successful candidate will be expected to enroll in Dalhousie’s Interdisciplinary PhD program (IDPhD) by Fall 2021, working with the team listed here, with funding of CAD$44,444 p.a. for up to 4.5 years. The project sits at the intersection of nature-based coastal adaptation, landscape culturomics, marine spatial planning, and social impact assessment/social license. We are now inviting applications for this fellowship, with first-round application review starting January 30th; later applications will be part of further review, if required, until filled.
Community members see and experience their landscapes in complex ways that shape how they perceive new options for coastal flood risk management. The political will to implement nature-based options will falter if the social dimensions of such options are not given equivalent attention to the technical dimensions. The student will take a longitudinal approach to understand trajectories of local experience and support over the course of a nature-based adaptation project such as coastal wetland restoration, using secondary datasets such as social and conventional media. The objectives will be both to develop and pilot replicable methods for understanding the social dimensions of nature-based systems implementation, and assist NRC in deepening its capacity for integrating social sciences and humanities scholarship in its own research projects. The research undertaken will thus also contribute knowledge applicable to the growing interdisciplinary challenges of building and sustaining climate-change resilient socio-ecological coastal systems.
The successful candidate will:
- Enroll in Dalhousie’s IDPhD program by September 2021, which has minimum entry requirements of A- (3.7) GPA at the senior undergraduate and graduate degree level, and IELTS requirement of 7.5 (or equivalent).
- The position will be suitable for a student with previous degrees in social science disciplines or interdisciplinary studies that include social science, and will have had some exposure to interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary research programs. Disciplines include, but are not limited to, social geography, planning, information science, sociology and cultural anthropology, environmental studies, natural resources management, marine studies, among others.
- Students will be skilled in social science research methods, and ideally have experience in social impact assessment or social license research.
- Experience with IT including programming and systems work is an asset, but is not required, as the increased sophistication and usability of machine learning tools means leveraging this technology is a teachable skill.
- Success in writing of peer-reviewed journal articles (in English).
We are eager to diversify our team through this recruitment, so particularly invite applications from people whose identity or circumstances puts them in a position of being underserved in the academic context. Applications should be sent to me at email@example.com including the following in the order shown in a single PDF, with the subject line ‘OGEN application [SURNAME]’:
- A letter of interest (maximum two pages) that describes your background, your interest in the project, and your qualifications and capacity to carry it out effectively.
- Names and contact details for three potential referees.
- A c. v. (curriculum vitae)
- Unofficial transcripts from undergraduate and graduate study
The full job ad can be read here.
Really honoured to have been asked by IASNR to keynote this year’s ISSRM meeting after it was moved online. While I would love to be sitting around with my colleagues in Cairns, Australia, the originally planned host city, I’m so far enjoying the online presentations and live Q&A engagement. My keynote synthesizes my work on climax thinking, drawing insights from the work of MES students Kristina Keilty, Ellen Chappell and Krysta Sutton in contexts as diverse as potential dam removal, wind energy, and coastal adaptation. I am looking forward to the live Q&A for the keynote session on Wednesday morning, and the rest of the conference as it rolls out over the next two weeks.