Landscapes - People - Global change

Month: November 2022

Coastal focus group paper out in The Canadian Geographer

Figures 1 and 2 of Sutton et al., out today in The Canadian Geographer, showing the participant locations and coasts for our focus groups, and the content from the focus groups covered in the paper.

This morning the second paper from our 2019 coastal resident focus groups for the NRCan-funded Making Room for Movement project is out in The Canadian Geographer, Coastal resident perceptions of nature-based adaptation options in Nova Scotia, led by recent MES graduate Krysta Sutton. This paper helps us to understand how those living on Nova Scotia’s coasts feel about living shorelines (supportive but skeptical), accommodation like raising homes (an expensive ‘band aid’) and retreat (inevitable in the long term, but requiring government support). Managed realignment of dykes was poorly understood overall, suggesting that additional work is needed to broach this subject with locals. Since Fiona in Sept 2022, the conversation in this region around retreat has really changed, however.  We see residents in Port aux Basques who lost their homes, some uninsured, relieved at being bought out by the government and finding new places to settle. PEI residents are looking at their coasts very differently, too (I’m quoted on that one). It would be very interesting to re-run these focus groups now.

Meddylfryd yr anterth

A quick thanks to the PloCC (Places of Climate Change) network at the University of Bangor, Wales, for the invitation to present to their monthly seminar series on Nov 9th. I spoke about climax thinking (the title of this post is its Welsh translation, literally, “the mentality of the peak” according to Google Scholar) using examples from wind energy, coastal adaptation and flood-risk mapping (highlighting work by past and current graduate students Kristina Keilty, Ellen Chappell, Krysta Sutton and Samantha Howard). Thanks to the effort PloCC took to translate my abstract, I’ll share it here for any Welsh speakers who discover this page.

Trosiad yw meddylfryd yr anterth am wrthwynebiad i newid y dirwedd er lles y cyhoedd. Deilliodd o ymchwil seiliedig ar le yn Nghanada Atlantig. Yn yr un modd â damcaniaeth olyniaeth mewn ecoleg, rydym yn aml yn credu bod tirweddau mewn cyflwr delfrydol neu ecwilibriwm (h.y. yr anterth), ac y dylid dychwelyd ato ar ôl pob aflonyddwch megis trychinebau naturiol. Mae angen inni symud at ffordd ddi-ecwilibriwm o feddwl am dirwedd o ystyried yr heriau a wynebwn o ran cynaliadwyedd a’r goblygiadau posibl i’r dirwedd. Dyma gyflwyniad sy’n rhannu gwaith achos ynglŷn â gosod ynni’r gwynt, enciliad yr arfordir a mapio perygl llifogydd i symud o lefel y canlyniad (gwrthiant) i lefel y broses (achosion) y syniad newydd hwn, a’r goblygiadau i ymchwil ac ymarfer.

Topically, a great example of climax thinking came into my morning news media today, in the local rejection of government-funded wind turbines to help Stewart Island, NZ, get off of diesel generators. As the term otherwise hurtles to a close, and I look ahead to the Restoring America’s Estuaries conference in New Orleans the first full week of December, I’m keeping my eye to related media. I look particularly forward to the NYT reporting about this call for experiences of disaster rebuilding. A final note, do yourself a favour and read Rutger Breman’s book Humankind; I listened to the audiobook through the Halifax’s library’s Libby app on a long bus trip and it made me feel much better.

Scenario workshop for ResNet

Event poster and photo from the final workshop activity

The workshop event poster alongside a photo from one of the final segments of the event.

Last week was very exciting, as NSERC ResNet Synthesis team members Elson Galang and Elena Bennett came to Halifax to lead us in a scenario workshop for the L1 landscape case study of the Bay of Fundy dykelands and tidal wetlands. Eighteen interested parties joined us at the SMU CLARi site for a fun two days of reflection and visioning, and we finished up with four fascinating narratives of potential futures for the region. The creativity and expertise of our stakeholders resulted in some futures I’d never considered, but that were remarkably well fleshed out.  I had never been involved in deploying such a method, and after the two days I am a big believer in its transformative potential (at least with Elson at the helm!). Thanks to everyone who contributed beyond those already mentioned, including postdoc Lara, TCA project manager Kristie, and grad students from Dal (Paria, Polly and Keahna) and SMU (Millie, Evan).  I am looking forward to co-developing the workshop report and getting our work out in the world.

Six participants and organizers at the Quinn's Brewery

Workshop organizers (me, Jeremy and Elena) and participants (Karel, John and Tony) debriefing at the Brewery by Quinn during the L1 workshop.

As an aside, I also had a first appearance in the Christian Science Monitor while the workshop was on. Another nice piece by Moira Donovan about the situation on the east coast post-Fiona, particularly in relation to managed retreat. These are interesting times in Port aux Basques, as 100 residents affected by Fiona have received demolition notices for buildings they own: I’m waiting to hear what support they’ll get to safely and meaningfully retreat.

© 2022 Kate Sherren

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