Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

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Farewell lunch for Lara

Me, Lara and Brooke at Efes Turkish Cuisine on International Women’s Day

Had a lovely lunch at Efes on Friday with my two current postdocs, Brooke McWherter and Lara Cornejo, to farewell Lara whose last day will be at the end of this month and who is working remotely until then. It also turned out to be International Women’s Day and so it was a fitting day to be getting together. Thanks, Lara, for all the great work on NSERC ResNet over the last two years.

The Conversation

Buildings are seen in floodwater following a major rain event in Halifax on July 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Buildings are seen in floodwater following a major rain event in Halifax on July 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

I did my first bit for The Conversation this week, connecting Sam Howard’s project work on resistance to public flood risk mapping to the new tools provided here in NS in lieu of coastal protection legislation. You can read it here: Flood risk mapping is a public good, so why the public resistance in Canada? Lessons from Nova Scotia. 

Addendum: The media engagement on this commentary has been gratifying, including:

  • CityNews 95.7 (audio interview with Todd Veinotte March 13, 10 am),
  • The Canadian National Observer (pending), Cloe Logan
  • CBC News (online text) Property owners, researcher critical of N.S. approach to coastal protection (Mar 19, 2024), Michael Gorman
  • CBC Nova Scotia News (video), Nova Scotia’s coast is eroding. So is the confidence some have in its environment policy (Mar 19, 2024), Michael Gorman
  • CBC The National (video), N.S. homeowners say they needs a coastal protection law, not plan  (Mar 20, 2024),  Kayla Hounsell
  • Water We Doing, podcast (pending)

Grant-writing retreat

Sunset from the Hayes Room

Ian, Fanny and I in the SRES Hayes Room, past 9 on a school night.

I’m just recovering today from a 2.5-day writing retreat with Ian Stewart (Kings/Dal) and Fanny Noisette (UQAR) for the upcoming deadline for the Transforming Coastal Action large research projects. We represent 3/4 of the co-lead team for TranSECT (Transformative adaptations to Social-Ecological Climate change Trajectories), which was called Cluster 3.3, inside the Promoting Just and Equitable Adaptation  domain of the original funding application. There were two unusually late nights, where I got to see what the grad students get up to in the suite when the rest of us go home, and now have a long list of to-dos. Thanks to Fanny and Ian for the productive time and great company.

 

The death of the Coastal Protection Act

I was on a chain of Zoom meetings this morning when I received an email from the NS Department of Environment and Climate Change providing guidance for coastal property owners in the face of climate-related coastal changes. It took me by surprise, but I thought perhaps it was a stopgap measure until the long-awaited Coastal Protection Act (CPA) that passed with all-party support in 2019 was finally proclaimed and regulations developed. After lunch, a look at CBC NS and my heart sank. This is not a stop-gap, this is a replacement. The PC government has capitulated to private interests and is now refusing to regulate coastal zone development activity, despite overwhelming support for the CPA discovered in their own public engagement work, instead providing guidance and tools for private landowners like flood line mapping. I support more information and tools for everyone involved, but  ‘protection’ in this new approach is limited to protecting coastal landowners and their rights and stuff, not 1) protecting the coast and its ecosystems and non-human inhabitants (who do provide us critical benefits as a byproduct of their thriving), nor 2) the rest of Nova Scotia and federal taxpayers from continuing to fund post-storm recovery of ill-considered development. We have seen too many times what kind of decision-making results from downloading responsibility in this way (see above).

The coast does not belong to coastal landowners. It belongs to the ocean. We need to learn how to give it the space it needs for its natural dynamism. Giving elite coastal landowners and developers the power to decide the composition and resilience of our coasts is unjust and blinkered to our common reality and shared future: surely we know better after Fiona.  For shame.

Halifax mystery

C. N. R. Bridges, Jun., 1968 (102-39-1-1280.6) – HRM Archives

I am working on a digital photography project right now associated with a sabbatical course at NSCAD, and spent a chunk of the weekend looking through the HRM Archives for images around my neighbourhood to use in repeat photography. In a fond of images called C.N.R. Bridges–taken to track infrastructure issues around the city for what seem like long-standing disputes around responsibility–came the above intriguing and quite shocking image from 1968. Can anyone help me figure out where this was taken? Do you know anything about the monkey?

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