Samantha Howard spent the weekend preparing her first mailout for her MES survey.
If you get a envelope that looks like the above in your mail, please don’t ignore it. SRES MES student Samantha Howard (above) is now waiting eagerly for responses to her survey invitation, which will start arriving in the mailboxes of a random sample of Kings, Hants, Colchester and Cumberland county residents later this week. She is looking at how people perceive climate change impacts and two methods for adapting to those impacts: public flood risk mapping and managed dyke realignment paired with salt marsh restoration. You don’t need to be an expert on any of these, or to have lived in the region long: we are interested in all residents’ perspectives!
We will be using a multiple mailout approach to work toward a good response rate, so the envelopes above will be followed by some reminder postcards over the coming weeks. A good response rate helps us feel confident that we have heard from a representative group of people, and without that our work is much weaker. We are grateful to all those willing to give 15-25 minutes of their time to help. As a thank you, the first 100 participants can enter a draw for one of 10 $50 gift cards from either Tim Horton’s or Irving Gas (their choice)! The rest of the participants can enter to win one of 10 $25 gift cards.
Cover slide from our ResNet L1 BOFEP panel, May 19, 2022
Back in 2020 I submitted a proposal for a panel for the ResNet L1 team at the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (BOFEP) meeting to be held in Truro. We finally had a chance to deliver that panel last week, after two years of delays due to COVID. BOFEP was held in partnership with ACCESS (Atlantic Canada Coastal and Estuarine Science Society) , which led to a very diverse set of presentations from isotope analysis to citizen science and beyond. Our panel was originally designed to present the Facets paper as it was in development; instead we showed how ResNet L1 was filling in the gaps in the conceptual model we presented in the Facets paper on services like cultural, storm protection, carbon, and pollination, and how that related to practice.Being in Truro also enabled a great meeting with ResNet partners, Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, visited lovely Victoria Park for a walk, and enjoyed a great public forum on flooding in Truro and the region.
That last item was the standout event for me. Truro Planning Director and a local African Nova Scotian resident demonstrated the political and justice dimensions of flood planning decisions in the region. Coincidentally or not, that theme was taken up yesterday on CBC Information Morning by Lynn Jones, who seems to be a part-time neighbour of that resident. The resident is now surrounded by homes that their owners could afford to raise on pads to the 1988 requirements currently in force for development on the flood plain, and he (downhill) feels he is receiving their runoff, worsening his situation. He can’t get insurance, but can’t really afford to raise or leave. He thinks the river should be dredged to store more water but the CBCL modelling suggests the sedimentation is so high it simply wouldn’t work. Meanwhile, Jones says her community, before they left or were squeezed out, used to ‘work with nature’ by keeping boats in the backyard so they could navigate the street, a pretty extreme form of what in adaptation terms would be called ‘accommodation’. She wants to see her community come back to these ‘ancestral lands’, but the risks today are higher than they were then. The past is a poor predictor of the future. This additional dimension to the challenges of Truro’s complex flood situation echoes those in other places like New Orleans where minorities are relegated to marginal lands, build strong communities and then are first displaced when conditions change: adaptation would mean not helping people to stay or return to such increasingly at-risk places, but such decisions have uneven impacts. Today, however, it sounds like flood plain development is still being permitted by Truro’s pro-development council and provincial UARB, in full awareness of expanding flood risk areas, locking in more risk and complexity for residents, the town and the wider public purse that will eventually have to wade in and make it right.
The PIs and partners discussing strategic planning in groups at Jouvence, during the ResNet AGM in Orford, QC, May 4-5, 2022.
It was wonderful to be physically present with about 60 of the national NSERC ResNet team at Jouvence in Orford, QC, for the first in person event since we were funded in mid-2019. It was a wonderful event, substantively and socially. Over 30 students and postdocs attended and drove discussions of science and ethics alike, and networked into working groups to strengthen linkages between the landscape, theme and synthesis teams into the second half of the project. There was lots of fun, including campfires and a pub viewing of my NHK debut . I got lots of new ideas for L1 (the Bay of Fundy dykelands and tidal wetlands case study) from talking to the students and postdocs about their work and returned to work reinvigorated, if exhausted. It was also really the first chance for the L1 team to gather together, and I enjoyed the extra time in this lovely setting to get to know one another.
Some of the L1 team during the mapping workshop on the first night of the ResNet AGM.
Quebec’s return to indoor masking was a bit of a relief, and Danika van Proosdij and I took two days to drive each way for additional protection. It seems to have worked. That drive gave us the opportunity to show newly arrived L1 ResNet postdoc, Lara Cornejo, around the Bay of Fundy region. It was also my first time to the Converse dyke realignment site, though I didn’t find it as cold as Lara, and it was great to have Danika there as a tour guide. We also stopped by the St. Lawerence wetlands at La Pocatiere, and to see the wetland recovery where the tidal gate was removed on the Petitcodiac in Moncton.
Return road trip from Quebec, with Danika and new postdoc Lara, we took time to visit the Converse realignment project, with the Amherst wind farm in the background.
A little cellphone photo tour of a detour down High Marsh Road on my return from New Brunswick last weekend.
The 1916 Wheaton Covered Bridge near Sackville, NB, over the Tantramar River near Sackville, NB, April 2022. Behind it, transmission lines head toward Amherst, NS.
Those transmission lines are visible below across a wet spring dykeland, heading toward the Sprott wind farm near Amherst, just visible on the horizon.
Looking back toward Sackville, past haybales on dykeland, we can see a new piece of utilitarian infrastructure, the 14-storey berry freezer that I hear is locally called ‘the cube’.
Finally leaving High Marsh Road and climbing up to Point de Bute there is an amazing look-off down toward dykelands and an old hay barn, one of many that once dotted this landscape when horsepower was king.
The Tantramar/Chignecto landscape is clearly a practical, working landscape, where new uses are layered when needed. But it is also a beautiful one.
Today, I was exploring the eBook version of Fred Shapiro’s (2006) The Yale Book of Quotations (Yale University Press), trying to verify that oft-used William Gibson quote, “the future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed”. A sleuth blogger, Quote Investigator, indicated it was poorly documented and so it seems to be. But it was not entirely wasted time. While I was in there, I found this delightful quote, by Daniel Dennett, U.S. philosopher (1942– ), which gave me a big laugh on this grey day:
The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn’t need its brain anymore so it eats it! (It’s rather like getting tenure.)
Consciousness Explained, ch. 7 (1991)
Sometimes I do feel like a sea squirt, but it is also worth noting that sometimes our ‘spots’ do change on us. Every academic home I’ve ever had has either disappeared or been amalgamated in some way during my time. Charles Sturt University’s School of IT and School of Science and Technology (from my days as a spatial scientist) are no more, each collapsed into other multi-campus schools, and ANU’s beloved CRES (Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies) amalgamated with another unit and became the Fenner School of Environment and Society as I transitioned from PhD to postdoc. There are always debates over where such interdisciplinary environmental or geography units ‘fit’ in the university, and that conversation has been ongoing at Dalhousie, too. SRES, where I am now, is about to be picked up and moved to another faculty, like when my son moves rocks on the seashore that have creatures in residence. Hopefully we don’t get left high and dry.