Articles tagged with: water

  • New paper co-authored by Julia Baird: “Fostering ocean empathy through future scenarios”

    A new access paper co-authored by Geography and Tourism Studies Assistant Professor, Dr. Julia Baird, titled “Fostering ocean empathy through future scenarios” was published in People and Nature. This paper is open-access and is available to download here.

    Abstract:

    1. Empathy for nature is considered a prerequisite for sustainable interactions with the biosphere. Yet to date, empirical research on how to stimulate empathy remains scarce.
    2. Here, we investigate whether future scenarios can promote greater empathy for the oceans. Using a pre-post empathy questionnaire, participants (N = 269) were presented with an optimistic or a pessimistic future scenario for the high seas in a virtual reality (VR) or written format.
    3. Results showed that post-test empathy levels were significantly higher than pre-test levels, indicating that future scenarios fostered ocean empathy. We also find that the pessimistic scenario resulted in greater empathy levels compared to the optimistic scenario. Finally, we found no significant difference between the VR and written conditions and found that empathy scores significantly decreased 3 months after the initial intervention.
    4. As one of the first studies to empirically demonstrate the influence of a purposeful intervention to build ocean empathy, this article makes critical contributions to advancing research on future scenarios and offers a novel approach for supporting ocean sustainability.

    Video Abstract: “Fostering ocean empathy through future scenarios”

    Citation:

    Jessica Blythe, Julia Baird, Nathan Bennett, Gillian Dale, Kirsty L. Nash, Gary Pickering, Colette C. C. Wabnitz. (2021). Fostering ocean empathy through future scenarios. People and Nature. Online: https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10253

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  • Students help WWF-Canada with fresh approaches to sharing water research

    FROM THE BROCK NEWS | by 

    When students in Julia Baird’s Research Themes in Water Resources class recently undertook a project to collect and share current research about freshwater, they had three very different audiences to impress: Baird, a curious public and the World Wildlife Fund of Canada (WWF-Canada).

    It wasn’t the first time students in the fourth-year Geography and Tourism Studies course worked with WWF-Canada on such a project, thanks in part to the WWF-Canada—Brock Partnership for Freshwater Resilience led by Baird, which officially launched last June.

    But this time around, students had access to funding to support their work-integrated learning (WIL) through Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada’s Innovation Hub (iHub), funded in part through the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning Initiative (IWIL).

    Students used a stipend to finance innovative projects that could help a target audience understand different issues related to freshwater resilience. The top projects also received a cash prize.

    “Students were given a list of potential questions they could answer, which WWF-Canada and I developed together,” explains Baird, an Associate Professor in Brock’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) who also holds Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience. “They were then asked to choose one question and take on three tasks that, together, provided a range of knowledge mobilization products, from scholarly products such as an annotated bibliography of relevant literature to creative products intended for an audience of their choosing.”

    Baird co-developed the project with WWF-Canada to ensure that both the organization and the students reaped the maximum benefits from their work-integrated learning.

    During a Research Themes in Water Resources class, Lyndsay Bott created an infographic on salt marshes and mitigation measures that can be taken to protect them.

     

    “WWF-Canada accesses foundational and current research on specific issues of interest and students gain knowledge about water issues and skills in identifying relevant research and translating it for a partner and also for another audience of their choosing,” says Baird. “It’s a project that, for me, ticked a lot of boxes in terms of learning outcomes.”

    To keep everyone on the right track, students were encouraged to communicate with a key contact at WWF-Canada throughout the semester to ask questions and touch base.

    Emily Bowyer (BSc ’21), who majored in Biology and Geography before graduating from Brock last month, says that working directly with WWF-Canada had a strong impact on her project, a series of TikTok videos about Riparian zones and restorations.

    “My biggest takeaway from the experience was working with an organization like WWF-Canada and learning from their expertise,” says Bowyer. “It was a great opportunity to build lasting connections with professionals in my field as a student.”

    Lyndsay Bott (BSc ’21), who will start a Master of Sustainability degree at Brock in the fall, agrees.

    “It was great to see how far an organization such as WWF-Canada stretches and how passionate the staff we had as contacts were,” says Bott. “It was overall just great to be involved in the community and gain experience this way.”

    Bott’s project focused on the interactions between freshwater and coastal ecosystems and resulted in an infographic about strategies for dealing with freshwater pollutants and how they can affect coastal salt marshes.

    Baird says students exceeded her expectations with their work on the projects, whether they were building on existing strengths or taking the opportunity to try out something new, as well as the final results, which included social media pieces, high school lesson plans, short videos and ArcGIS StoryMaps.

    Carol Ng (BA ’21), who also graduated last month, decided to appeal to kids with a cartoon-based Instagram post on beavers and freshwater quality, featuring an original character, Billy the Beaver.

    “It was targeted to children, and it was just such an engaging series. Billy looks for a new home and finds one that is not quite right but by building a dam it benefits not only him but also some fish friends he meets,” says Baird. “It’s cute but also takes rather complex research results and shares them at an entirely appropriate level for children.”

    Anugraha Udas (BA ’21), who created an educational video on Riparian restoration project monitoring, says the assignment provided a unique way of showcasing skills outside of the typical academic environment.

    “Through my experience in drone videography and contemporary videography, I was able to create an educational video that everyone could understand and enjoy,” says Udas, who will start a master’s degree in spatial analysis at Ryerson University in the fall to pursue research interests that were crystallized in the recent Brock course. “This is something that a typical essay would not be able to recreate.”

    Cara Krezek, Brock’s Director of Co-op, Career and Experiential Education, as well as President of CEWIL Canada, says Brock has become known for these types of course experiences.

    “These innovative, engaging experiences allow students to bridge their learning to meaningful work that is useable by industry,” says Krezek. “CEWIL Canada has invested in innovative WIL projects across the country and this project met the criteria for a grant as it used technology, was innovative and funded quality student experiences.”

    In the end, the projects had a strong impact on both the partners at WWF-Canada and the students, who learned about issues and gained crucial experience in the field.

    “Based on the feedback from WWF-Canada, they identified some new, innovative ways to communicate their messaging around freshwater issues from the student projects,” says Baird. “I’m grateful that WWF-Canada has been interested in and sees the value of maintaining this course-based project as part of our partnership.”

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

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  • New video on “Water and Climate” by David Grimes

    In this talk, David Grimes presents on “Water and Climate: Uncertain Times, Inconvenient Realities”. Watch the full video below:

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  • 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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  • 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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