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.
Congratulations to Gardenio da Silva who defended his MES thesis this morning on Social impact assessment (SIA) practice for hydroelectricity in CAnada: a review of methods and monitoring. Wonderful to have IA expert Meinhard Doelle examining the thesis from Sweden, John Parkins ringing in early from Alberta (in the midst of this heat wave) in a committee capacity, and colleague Andrew Medeiros managing it all as chair. It was a wonderful conversation about the practice of SIA, using hydro dams as a case, in a challenging context. Gardenio’s work leveraged secondary datsets, including SIA documents and longitudinal media coverage. Both papers within the thesis are at an advanced stage of publication, which makes the process a bit easier, but there was a lot to engage on. Great to see so many MES defending comfortably within the allocated two years.
A new paper is out this week that has been long in coming. Carlisle Kent’s post-graduation research contract in the winter of 2016 with the Reconciling Holistic Management project, released as a report in winter 2017, has been picked up and refined for publication by postdoc Wes Tourangeau. The paper will be out in the first 2019 issue of Weather, Climate and Society and is called: Of climate and weather: Examining Canadian farm and livestock organization discourses from 2010 to 2015. This work was part of our effort to understand the science-practice-policy interface around HM, in this case focusing on farmer organizations and how they communicate about climate and grazing. We found interesting patterns of discourses: Alberta groups speaking to members about acute matters of weather but national groups speaking to policy-makers about chronic climate issues. Climate-related discourses advocated regulation and weather-related discourses advocated insurance and other buffering mechanisms. Both promoted infrastructure and technological fixes as well as land management decisions. The only land management change advocated for both climate and weather challenges was managed/rotational grazing, suggesting that grazing practitioners and their advocates see utility. We are currently following up this work to explore the discourse of recent Senate and House explorations on agriculture and climate change.
Pleased to see that our ‘Write Back’ letter on images and interdisciplinarity in ‘culturomics‘ has been published today in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. We were responding to an article late 2016 by Ladle et al. on conservation culturomics, emphasizing the growing importance of analyzing images, as well as associated text, in the growing field of culturomics initiated by Google Ngram. Also thrilled by the productive response by Ladle et al. that follows our piece in today’s volume. Editors do not always facilitate this kind of dialogue, but I think it is a really effective way to advance thinking.