Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Landscape (Page 1 of 28)

Causeway-related surveys in the field

Postcard invitations being sent to those living within about 4 km of each causeway.

Over the next couple of weeks, residents living near the Petitcodiac River causeway (partially replaced with the Honourable Brenda Robertson Bridge) in New Brunswick and the Avon River causeway in Nova Scotia will receive post cards from my lab. PhD student Keahna Margeson is running a study to understand peoples’ experiences and perceptions of changes to the causeways, tidal gates, and rivers over the years. If you get one of these in your mailbox, and you have 10-15 minutes to spare, we would be very grateful to hear from you. 

Addendum April 8th: These postcards have gone out to those on mail routes within–or that touch–a 4 km buffer of each causeway site. Mail routes in rural areas can be quite large. With Canada Post Admail we cannot control the outer edge of the distribution, and so you may have received the postcard even at a significant distance from a causeway site, but we are still very interested to hear from you. Many thanks for your support.

New review paper: social license to operate and coastal management

Table 1 in Margeson et al. 2023 showing factors that influenced coastal
SLO with associated themes that
emerged from the literature

Congratulations to Keahna and her PhD committee for the publication of her first comprehensive exam as a review in Environmental Management yesterday, The Role of Social License in Non-Industrial Marine and Coastal Planning: a Scoping Review. The idea of social license to operate is often used in industrial contexts, but in Nova Scotia we know that public acceptance can also be an issue with coastal activities such as conservation or restoration and related  nature-based coastal adaptation techniques. Using an SES lens Keahna reviewed 85 relevant papers–most from Europe and North America–and found key drivers to be sense of place, costs and benefits, perceived risk, trust and knowledge.

Delft and Rotterdam

Rooftop solar panels reflecting in the morning light along the dykelands at Wageningen

A relict windmill (traditionally used to pump water to drain wet land) near the Delft train station.

I left the Netherlands by ferry, crossing to Harwich UK, and that allowed me a bit of time to explore Delft and Rotterdam enroute to the port at Hook of Holland Haven (harbour). This was mostly tourist time for me, a chance to pursue good decaf coffee–the Dutch are highly caffeinated and look at me suspiciously and (I might be imagining this) a bit pityingly when I order it–and enjoy walking along canals and crossing the lovely little bridges. My many train, bus and tram trips have allowed me a lot of landscape views but little stability for photographs, so I was pleased to find a preserved windmill in the centre of Delft (left). These landscape stalwarts are still used to pump water to keep land dry in the Netherlands; much of that land is below sea level and in fact was once sea. Rotterdam is only 15 minutes away from Delft by train and has some very experimental architecture, including the spectacular Markthall, which can be seen in the distance below, like an upturned horseshoe. Then I made my way to the ferry terminal for what was, according to an employee, the roughest crossing of the North Sea in her 13 years with the company. Lucky me. The less said about that the better, but the wind fed the dramatic energy landscapes along the industrial harbour as we sailed out (bottom), and the offshore wind we encountered enroute. It was a wonderful trip, but it is great to be home (and on solid ground).

One of the many Rotterdam canals drained for construction work, the spectacular Markthal in the backgound.

Some of the many wind turbines lining the industrial harbour at Hook of Holland where the ferry departed.

New paper: social media methods for SIA

Synthesis figure in the new Current Sociology paper showing sample workflows within a range of possibilities.

This week a new open access paper came out in a special issue (monograph) of Current Sociology about Social Impact Assessment. The special issue was led by Guadalupe Ortiz and Antonio Aledo, and their introductory essay is worth a read, as is Frank Vanclay’s epilogue, reflecting on 50 years of SIA and asking “is it still fit for purpose?”. Our offering, Social media and social impact assessment: Evolving methods in a shifting context, reflects on a decade of research using mostly Instagram to understand the social impacts of developments such as hydroelectricity, wind energy and coastal dyke realignment. The above demonstrates the current state of the art in terms of workflows, and shows how several of our studies have navigated those options. The paper also talks about the challenges, practical and ethical, of using social media datasets, and calls for government support in securing ongoing access for the purposes of public good research, a topic also recently argued by Ethan Zuckerman in Prospect Magazine. Most of the work synthesized in this paper has been published elsewhere, except the brilliant work that Mehrnoosh Mohammadi did on developing a collage approach to communicating common features in social media images to protect both copyright and privacy concerns (see below). This is a method we advocated back in 2017 and it is wonderful to see it in action.

A collage by Mehrnoosh Mohammadi of 16 photos captured in NS vineyards and posted on Instagram, showing seasonal change from left to right.

Congratulations, Emily Wells, MES!

Emily Wells speaks during her online MES defense, Mar 2, 2022, about being gifted an eagle feather by a Mi’kmaw Knowledge Holder during her research and what it meant to her.

Delighted to share news that Emily Wells defended her MES thesis yesterday, titled Mi’kmaw relational values: Lessons for environmental valuation from Indigenous literatures and L’nuwey along the Bay of Fundy Coast. Thanks to Heather Cray who acted as Chair, Melanie Zurba who was Emily’s committee member and welcomed her into the Co-Lab community, and also Kai Chan who served as her external examiner. It was too bad that threats of poor weather drove us to an online event, but it was still a wonderful conversation, exactly the kind of insightful and reflective event you hope for out of a defense. We have new ideas with which to approach the final thesis submission and the publication process.

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