It has been a busy week or so, but as the snow gets flying for our first big storm of the winter season here in Halifax, I have a little time to breathe and acknowledge some of end-of-term milestones among other things.
- Last Friday, Dec 11, Kiana Endresz presented her final MMM project which was funded by ResNet to explore the nearshore fisheries implications of salt marsh restoration. Two ResNet partners led this work: John Brazner of the NS Dept of Lands and Forestry was her supervisor, and she also carried out an internship with CBWES, where Tony Bowron supported her pilot test to explore incoming and outgoing fish using fyke nets.
- On Monday, Dec 14, Krysta Sutton defended her MES thesis, titled Understanding perceptions of coastal climate change and nature-based coastal adaptation: Using communicative framing in experimental focus groups in Nova Scotia, Canada. Thanks to Liette Vasseur (Brock) for being her external examiner, and Lisa Berglund (Dalhousie, School of Planning) for serving as her committee member.
- Today, Dec 17, Dorothy Okene presented her MREM project results, The well-being of adaptive graziers: A look at Canadian beef farmers. Dorothy joined the end of the Reconciling HM project this past summer to code up the free text components of the end-of-grant survey run with ranchers last winter. Congratulations to all the MREM students who finished up this week, including my other advisees Brittany Bonapace, Shannon Hicks and Dan Phillips.
Finally, I had to step away from MREM presentations today to do a call-in show on CBC Radio 1 called Maritime Noon, inspired by the publication of a new photography book by H. M. Scott Smith, Planet Digby. His macro shots of ships hulls and reflections evoke landscapes and he imagines them as foreshadowing the novel landscapes of climate change. Callers were invited to talk about what changes they are seeing from climate change. Some interesting observations were made by callers about the long-term responsibility for the armoring material being used that is changing many shorelines, the need for a two-eyed seeing approach, and the future of the Tantramar Marsh. Great to meet some engaged Canadians on the radio. Have a listen here (starts 17:20).
Kudos to Samantha Howard and Andrew Willms for defending their Environmental Science Honours proposals yesterday. Both did a great job, and fielded questions expertly. Samantha is exploring resistance to public flood mapping, using Lunenburg County as a case study, and Andrew is working with Department of Lands and Forestry to try to understand the steep increase in human-bear conflict in the province in recent years and how to reduce it. Thanks to Tarah Wright, who leads the Honours class, for her excellent preparation of Sam and Andrew and the rest of the cohort.
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.
The wonderful irony of using hard, pointy Lego to illustrate living shorelines as an adaptation strategy.
Salt marsh or dykes?
Great to see the new Oceans display at the Discovery Centre, including a new touch tank (sorry, guys) popular with the kids. Even cooler was the substantive content on coastal adaptation options, whimsically implemented with Lego (above). Also really neat to see this slider-based exploration of salt marsh restoration versus strengthening dyke-based protection as coastal options (right). This felt very topical as our team plans for Coastal Zone Canada next week in St. Johns, where we are developing a workshop on ‘making space for movement’ by nature-based coastal adaptation options.