Nice to see a new chapter out this month, Strategies for Integrating Quantitative Methods into Critical Social Acceptance Research, drawing on three different surveys about renewable energy in the last few years with UAlberta colleague John Parkins, one with MES Ellen Chappell, both co-authors. The book is co-edited by Susana Batel and David Rudolph, focusing on ‘critical’ approaches to social acceptance work on renewable energy. While they first approached me to do something on climax thinking, for some reason I can’t quite remember (probably the long delay for that previous chapter to come out), I pitched something on quant methods instead. Our chapter argues that quantitative methods are not anathema to critical approaches: they bring important strengths but call for some creativity in design. The three surveys we used as exemplars covered the national scale, provincial scale (Alberta) and regional scale (Tantramar/Chignecto), and each sought to reach beyond methodological individualism and Likert questions by engaging with place and materiality, looking relationally, exploring situated norms, forcing trade-offs, using vignettes or scenarios and enquiring about emotions. Now that I can see the impressive full line-up, I can’t wait to get back into the office where I expect my complimentary copy is waiting for me.
The first output of the Landscape 1 case study of ResNet, the Bay of Fundy dykelands, is out this week in Facets, Canada’s open access science journal: Understanding multifunctional Bay of Fundy dykelands and tidal wetlands using ecosystem services—a baseline. We set out to understand ecosystem service flows from tidal wetlands and drained agricultural dykeland (former tidal wetland), as climate change forces a rethink of the dykeland system. This review covered papers, theses, reports, and drew in some cases on other jurisdictions where there was a dearth of local data. We uncovered some key gaps but also potential synergies in balancing the system for sustainability. Filling some of the gaps to inform decisionmaking is the undertaking that faces us in ResNet.
Quick on the heels of Gardenio’s first thesis paper, below, his second paper is out today in Journal of Environmental Management: Using news coverage and community-based impact assessments to understand and track social effects using the perspectives of affected people and decisionmakers. This paper allows us to look at two of the ‘state of the art’ SIAs in recent years, for the Site C and Keeyask hydro projects. Each used a community-based approach where affected First Nations were funded to create their own impact assessment documents for consideration by the panel, yet the public discourse differs dramatically. We compared those documents with longitudinal media coverage to understand the longer term perspectives of affected people and decisionmakers in each case, a data source much more available than any formal monitoring in Canada. This allowed us to explore the potential of such datasets as suggested in this 2017 paper published about modernizing SIA.
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.
Great to see a new paper out today, led by former postdoc H. M. Tuihedur Rahman, that synthesizes the insights of coastal practitioners in nature-based coastal adaptation in the province: Navigating Nature-Based Coastal Adaptation through Barriers: A Synthesis of Practitioners’ Narratives from Nova Scotia, Canada . This builds on the great partnerships that have emerged through TransCoastal Adaptations: Centre for Nature-based Solutions based at SMU, and comes out as a ‘practitioner-led knowledge’ paper at Society and Natural Resources.