Articles tagged with: Julia Baird

  • New research looks at how a new water paradigm is defined and used in literature

    In a new paper titled “The emerging scientific water paradigm: Precursors, hallmarks, and trajectories“, ESRC/GeoTour prof Dr. Julia Baird and co-authors explore how two interpretations of a new water paradigm are defined and used, and overlap in the literature.

    Abstract

    Increasing scholarship has focused on a shift in scientific water paradigm in the 21st century from an understanding of water systems as stationary, predictable and command‐and‐control as appropriate governance to an understanding of them as complex, dynamic, and uncertain. This shift has been characterized in several ways. We focused on two prominent characterizations: as a “new water paradigm” and as “water resilience.” We identified the defining hallmarks of each, the “precursor” scholarship upon which these Defining Works build, and how the Defining Works have been advanced with “Subsequent Works” that cite them. We used bibliometric data to analyze the three bodies of literature and inductive coding to identify the hallmarks of the new water paradigm and water resilience from Defining Works. Four categories of hallmarks were identified that describe the emerging scientific water paradigm: complex adaptive systems orientation; governance and management configurations, which are inclusive, integrative, adaptive; governance and management actions that emphasize linkages between social and ecological systems and imperative of sustainability; and, attributes of diversity, redundancy and openness. There was insufficient evidence in fields of research, author country, and publishing journals to confirm that the emerging scientific water paradigm has been conceptualized in two distinct ways. Despite the degree of similarity between the two conceptualizations, the literature is strongly oriented toward one or the other. We suggest consilience between these two conceptualizations and scholars working with them to advance collective understanding of governance and management in light of our current understanding of water systems.

    Reference

    Baird, J., Plummer, R., Dale, G., Kapeller, B., Mallette, A., Feist, A., and Kataoka A. (2020). The emerging scientific water paradigm: Precursors, hallmarks, and trajectories. WIREs Water. Online: https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1489

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  • Brock researcher receives national award for work on water governance

    Julia Baird is the recipient of the 2020 Water’s Next Award in the category of “People: Academic Leader.” The award was announced in June at the annual Canadian Water Summit, which was held virtually earlier this month.

    Baird, Assistant Professor in the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) and the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, is a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience. She was also nominated for the award in 2019.

    Baird, who runs the Water Resilience Lab out of ESRC, was grateful for the honour.

    “I especially appreciate this award because the Canadian Water Summit is a gathering place for Canadians working on water issues — a diverse group including government, academics, non-government organizations and industry,” Baird says. “It signals to me that my work is relevant beyond academia, and that is really important to me as a sustainability scientist.”

    Baird’s extensive research on the governance of water resources was recently in the spotlight during the virtual launch of a new partnership between World Wildlife Fund-Canada and the ESRC that will examine the ways in which flood planning is taking place around the St. John River Basin, located in New Brunswick, Québec and the American state of Maine.

    “The research is exciting because it will make important contributions to scholarship on watershed-based governance and climate change adaptation planning, and it also has immediate relevance for those in the basin,” says Baird.

    But, as Baird points out, the launch webinar also highlighted the pressing issue of a lack of co-ordination amongst stakeholders — an issue she believes requires urgent attention.

    “Water governance and specific issues like flood planning are not usually highly co-ordinated across administrative boundaries, but water doesn’t respect our administrative boundaries,” Baird says. “There are benefits, including efficiency, innovation and greater effectiveness, if decision-making and direction-setting occur in co-ordination or collaboration with others in the watershed.”

    Alongside her work on the St. John River Basin, Baird is engaged in another endeavour with colleagues from Brock to examine how and why people think about resilience when it comes to water resources.

    Early findings have shown that it is possible to “predict the extent to which individuals align with a resilience perspective based on some key differences, including age, empathy, openness and optimism about the future.”

    “This builds our understanding of how close — or far — those in society are to agreeing with and believing in the importance of governing using resilience principles, such as emphasizing broad participation in governance, supporting learning and experimentation, and recognizing the importance of connectivity,” says Baird, noting that although this work began as a single project, it is expanding into its own program of research.

    “The argument is that we need a resilience perspective because it acknowledges how the world works — its complexity, its dynamic nature, and its uncertainty,” Baird explains. “When we view the world with this lens, new possibilities for how we govern it open up.”

    Baird says that the work will soon move toward using the initial findings of the project to influence mindsets more broadly to encourage a resilience perspective.

    “Shifting mindsets is one of the most powerful levers we have for change,” says Baird. “I think there’s a lot of potential for positive action as a result of this research.”

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • Julia Baird selected as finalist for Water’s Next award

    Julia Baird profile photoThe Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to congratulate Dr. Julia Baird for being selected as a finalist for a 2019 Water’s Next award. This “awards program honours the incredible achievements and ideas of individuals and companies that successfully work to make a positive change to water in our country and abroad”. Dr. Baird was selected as a finalist in the People – Academic category.

    More information is available here.

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  • Marilyne Jollineau and Julia Baird participate in International Women’s Day panel discussion

    On March 8, 2019, GeoTour Faculty members, Drs. Marilyne Jollineau and Julia Baird, participated in the “Women in Sustainability: A Panel Discussion in Celebration of International Women’s Day” event on campus.

    The discussion was moderated by Marilyne Jollineau. Discussions were framed around a number of questions focused on women in the field of sustainability.

    Panelists included:

    • Julia Baird, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair
    • Carrie Beatty, Chief Strategic Communications & Public Affairs Officer for the Town of Lincoln
    • Jessica Blythe, Assistant Professor
    • Ellen Savoia, Senior Manager, Environmental Planning, Niagara Parks
    • Natalie Green, Project Manager, Niagara River Remedial Action Plan
    • Mary Quintana, Director, Asset Management & Utilities, Brock University

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  • Julia Baird and Marilyne Jollineau awarded SSHRC Insight Development Grant

    On January 30, 2019, Drs. Julia Baird (GeoTour), Marilyne Jollineau (GeoTour), and Ryan Plummer were awarded an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their project “A comparative analysis of approaches to evaluating ecological outcomes from environmental stewardship”. Read more about this project on Dr. Baird’s Water Resilience Lab website.

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  • The meaning of environmental words matters in the age of ‘fake news’

    Reposted from The Conversation | January 10, 2019 5.34pm EST
    Authors: Jessica Blythe, Christine Diagle, and Julia Baird (GEOTOUR, ESRC)

    This week, U.S. President Donald Trump gave a live address on prime-time television where he repeatedly used the words “violent,” “illegal aliens” and “crisis” to arouse public fear. While Trump’s speech was based largely on fallacies, his fear-mongering shapes the national tone and can generate real-world impacts.

    Words matter because they wield power. Words shape our thinking about the world and, in turn, the actions we take. The meaning of words has never been more relevant than now — in the era of “fake news” — when so-called alternative facts abound.

    Environmental words can also be misinterpreted or misused. In the most sinister cases, language can be put to work to promote particular agendas and silence others.

    Remember “beautiful clean coal?” The Trump administration used the term as the backbone for the continued development of the fossil fuel industry. At the same time, it systematically removed the words “climate change” from federal websites, a measure aimed at undermining climate action.

    Power can be expressed through environmental buzzwords. They are used to influence policy direction, funding and produce norms that become entrenched in their meaning around the world. Motivated by this idea, our recent research explores the meaning of three environmental buzzwords — resilience, sustainability and transformation. Meaning influences the way we understand environmental problems and shapes the solutions we prioritize — or don’t.

    The rise of resilience

    Let’s begin with “resilience.” Over the past decade, resilience has increasingly become a rallying cry in the face of climatic change. Resilience has many meanings, from the time it takes to bounce back from a disturbance to more complex interpretations that consider the capacity to persist, adapt or transform in the face of change.

    Evidence shows that individuals, even those who share demographic characteristics or professions, interpret resilience in very different ways. These differences matter and can have implications on real-world actions.

    Flooding of Lake Champlain (seen here) and the Richelieu River in 1991 caused tens of millions of dollars in damage in Vermont, New York and Québec.(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

    When considering policy and planning related to flooding, for example, understanding resilience as bouncing back can lead to decisions to focus solely on infrastructure investments, while a more complex interpretation may lead to a decision to relocate a vulnerable subdivision away from a floodplain.

    The rise of resilience as a buzzword has also led to its prominence in agendas put forward by organizations looking for funding often without a clear intention or accountability.

    Sustainability for whom?

    The concept of “sustainability” has dominated environmental thinking since the publication of the influential essay “A Blueprint for Survival” in 1972. The notion of sustainability rests upon the idea that we are obligated to future generations and ought to live in a way that preserves natural resources and environments so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy them.

    The underlying idea is that we have the technological and scientific know-how and power to achieve this goal. And this definition of sustainability centres on humans. Asking “what is sustainability and who is it for?” may lead to a surprising shift in this thinking.

    An alternative perspective on sustainability raises new questions: Must we work toward preserving natural environments for ourselves? Is it justified to work toward preserving a species that is harmful to itself and others — like we have been?

    Is this wind turbine sustainable? Different perspectives may produce different answers. SCA/flickrCC BY

    Privileging the well-being of other species over our own — by significantly reducing our use of highly polluting natural resources — may help to slow climate change, for example. This requires, however, a radical shift in our thinking, displacing the human from the centre of our preoccupations.

    Clearly our know-how has not prevented the acceleration of the environmental crisis. Rethinking ourselves as beings that are deeply interconnected with our habitats and those we share it with, as post-humanist thinkers do, could lead to redefining the notion of sustainability and what constitutes an appropriate course of action. Significantly, this new vision of sustainability may not always favour the human…

    …Continue Reading on The Conversation

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  • Students celebrate World Water Day with water-themed research posters

    On March 22, 2018, students in GEOG/TOUR 3P83 (Geography of Water Resources) and GEOG/TOUR 4P83 (Research Themes in Water Resources) celebrated World Water Day by presenting their water research posters in the Maps, Data and GIS Library. A few of the posters are pictured below.

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  • Achievements of Geography and Tourism Studies professors and students recognized by FOSS

    The Department of Geography and Tourism Studies would like to congratulate our professors and students who were recognized last week by Brock’s Faculty of Social Sciences at their annual Celebration of Excellence.

    • Dr. Julia Baird, Assistant Professor (Canada Research Chair, Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience)
    • Dr. David Butz, Professor (Brock SSHRC Institutional Grant)
    • Dr. Michael Pisaric, Professor (NSERC Discovery Grant)
    • Dr. Kevin Turner, Assistant Professor (Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund)
    • Dr. Ebru Ustundag, Associate Professor (Ontario Undergraduate Students Alliance Teaching Excellence Award)
    • Katelyn Pierce, MA in Geography student (Ontario Graduate Scholarship)
    • Connor Dingle, MA in Geography student (Best Major Research Paper)

    Read the full story on the Brock News.

    Graduate student award winners and their supervisors and mentors were among the honorees at the Faculty of Social Sciences Celebration of Excellence. From left, Dawn Zinga, Acting Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Megan Earle and supervisor Gordon Hodson, Xiaomei Zhou and supervisor Catherine Mondloch, Christie Milliken accepting on behalf of Devon Coutts, Ebru Ustundag accepting on behalf of Connor Dingle, and Ingrid Makus, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

     

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