A distinctly under-the-weather Iain Rankin, Minister for Lands and Forestry, rises to announce the Biodiversity Act in yesterday’s media briefing.
I enjoyed visiting Province House yesterday for the media briefing around the province’s new Biodiversity Act. As one of the three-member Biodiversity Council that has acted as advisors to the process since last year, it was very satisfying to join the Minister and Deputy Minister, as well as other staffers at Lands and Forestry. Nice also to get the support of Nature Conservancy Canada and the Ecology Action Centre. This Act fills critical gaps in our capacity to protect Nova Scotia’s ecosystems against known and as-yet-unknown challenges.
I faced my first media scrum after the briefing. I’m weighing up how to rank it on discomfort in comparison with the mammogram I had immediately before. Some of the press from that scrum appeared on CBC and the Chronicle Herald (though the latter misspelled my surname), and since then I have done a little more (News 95.7 live interview). We missed the tabling of the Act yesterday, thanks to slow service at The Old Triangle, but this morning it had its second reading in the House. Minister Rankin included some of my comments in his address (see Hansard):
Mr. Speaker, I heard strong support for our bill from several key players in biodiversity. Dr. Kate Sherren, of Dalhousie University and a Biodiversity Council member, spoke yesterday during the bill briefing. She said the priority is to address current issues where there are gaps and to have a tool kit ready when they are needed. As she said, biodiversity is an engine of the ecosystem. We don’t know what we’ll be up against and we will need legislation to manage it.
I look forward to continuing with the Council as we hit the ground with regulatory priorities if this goes through.
Craig Smith from NCC enters the scrum I just left, March 14, 2019.
The Shu-Mil 4H Club at Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.
The Shu-Mil 4H Club at Burntcoat Head.
Enjoyed reading a newletter profile on MREM alum Seonaid MacDonell (currently at Farm Safety Nova Scotia) about her successful year starting up a Biodiversity project with 4H Nova Scotia. She put to work the biodiversity content developed for club leaders by Simon Greenland-Smith and I funded by ECCC and their SARPAL program and supported also by Glen Parsons at DLF. It is very satisfying to see these kids enjoying learning about biodiversity with such an energetic young leader. I’m grateful to Seonaid, and look forward to hearing about year two! If there is enough support across the clubs we hold out hope this can become a regular offering.
Everyone is eager to hear about the coastal protection policy in development.
Fun with flood maps.
Over the past few months I’ve been leading the writing up of a recent dyke realignment and salt marsh restoration project in Truro for an OECD report called Responding to Rising Seas, due out in January 2019. Co-authors are those who designed and implemented the case study from Saint Mary’s University and CB Wetlands and Environmental Services. The Truro case study is one of four cases explored in the report; others are in the UK, Germany and New Zealand. We culminated that case study with an all-day workshop November 21 at SMU on ‘scaling up the insights’ from the Truro case study. Requested by NRCan, funded by Lisa Danielson of the OECD’s Paris office, and hosted by Danika van Proosdij at SMU, we had sessions on policy, financing, engineering and human dimensions. Thirty attendees joined from across all scales of government, NGOs, First Nations and the private sector (as well as a few academics, but that couldn’t be helped). The various conversations and interactions knitted together some previously isolated groups working in parallel, and it felt very much like a day well spent. We hope attendees felt the same way.
I learned yesterday that I won the ‘Research Star’ award for tenured profs in the Faculty of Management, based on 2017-2018 papers and grants, which was a nice follow-up to winning the ‘Rising Research Star‘ award for pre-tenure profs in 2014-2015. Thanks to the adjudication committee for this honour.
Rangelands has a nice feature called ‘Browsing the Literature’, in which a handful of leading rangeland researchers is asked: “If you could recommend one paper or book that you’ve read recently that everybody in rangeland science or management should read, what would it be?” I’ve just learned that in the December 2017 issue, USDA rangeland scientist Dr. David Toledo recommended my commentary from last year with Ika Darnhofer, Precondition for integration: In support of standalone social science in rangeland and silvopastoral research. He commented:
It has become increasingly evident that we cannot view natural resource issues without considering humans as part of the natural resource system. However, there is a disproportionate amount of research in natural science journals regarding the social sciences needed to implement any ecosystem changes. This paper discusses issues related to the integration of the social sciences with the natural sciences (or lack thereof) and highlights the potential contributions of the social sciences in providing critical insights for achieving real-world impact of natural science research.
Thanks to Dr. Toledo for the good press.