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.
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).
CBC came calling this week about the recent letter in Bioscience warning about a “climate emergency”, on which I’m a signatory (along with 11,000 other scholars). Part of the press on this story is that it has not just been climate scientists signing on, but researchers from a wide range of fields including social science: climate touches us all. Kayla Hounsell and cameraman Steve visited my office yesterday for a quick explanation on why I signed, and it screened last night as part of a story about climate action in the Nova Scotia town of Berwick, after host Andrew Chang outlined the letter and its recommendations. During my email exchange earlier with Kayla, I explained my reasons for signing (little of which made it into my 20 seconds on air):
Briefly, I am concerned with ways to rewrite our landscapes and lifestyles for the scale of the changes we are facing. It is clear to me that we have great capacity for altruism and collective action if we perceive an emergency, such as in big storms or wartime mobilization, but we also have great capacity for inertia if all the signals we get are that there is potential it could be someone else’s problem. That’s why I signed. Anything that could expedite a sense of urgency among people and politicians is to be encouraged, as long as it is followed with action, rather than simply inoculate us against it.