Supporting early career researchers: insights from interdisciplinary marine scientists

The immense challenges associated with realizing ocean and coastal sustainability require highly skilled interdisciplinary marine scientists. However, the barriers experienced by early career researchers (ECRs) seeking to address these challenges, and the support required to overcome those barriers, are not well understood.

Culture as vector: agency for social-ecological systems change.

(book chapter in On Active Grounds) This book considers the themes of agency and time through the burgeoning, interdisciplinary field of the environmental humanities. Fourteen essays and a photo album cover topics such as environmental practices and history, temporal literacy, graphic novels, ecocinema, ecomusicology, animal studies, Indigeneity, wolf reintroduction, environmental history, green conservatism, and social-ecological systems change. The book also speaks to the growing concern regarding environmental issues in the aftermath of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) and the election of Donald Trump in the United States. This collection is organized as a written and visual appeal to issues such as time (how much is left?) and agency (who is active? what can be done? what does and does not work?). It describes problems and suggests solutions. On Active Grounds is unique in its explicit and twinned emphasis on time and agency in the context of the Environmental Humanities and a requisite interdisciplinarity. 

The Antarctic: connecting the dots. The Arctic: giving back. The Himalayas: feeling the myth

Early in 2018, Dr. D. R. Fraser Taylor, Director of the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre, was invited by Oldrich Bubak, an academic from McMaster University, to write the foreword for a trilogy of books of photographs on three special places, the Poles of the Planet – the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Himalayas. The extensive collection of photographs was taken by his father, Oldrich Bubak, an explorer, award winning photographer and guide of Czech ancestry. Dr. Taylor was approached to write the foreword in view of his reputation as a cartographer of global merit; he is the only Canadian to have been elected President of the International Cartographic Association. As Dr. Taylor notes, these photographs draw our attention to compelling questions of geography and environment in these times of dramatic and irreversible climate change.

The impact of coastal grabbing on community conservation – a global reconnaissance.

“Coastal grab” refers to the contested appropriation of coastal (shore and inshore) space and resources by outside interests. This paper explores the phenomenon of coastal grabbing and the effects of such appropriation on community-based conservation of local resources and environment. The approach combines social-ecological systems analysis with socio-legal property rights studies. Evidence of coastal grab is provided from four country settings (Canada, Brazil, India and South Africa), distinguishing the identity of the ‘grabbers’ (industry, government) and ‘victims’, the scale and intensity of the process, and the resultant ‘booty’. The paper also considers the responses of the communities. While emphasizing the scale of coastal grab and its deleterious consequences for local communities and their conservation efforts, the paper also recognizes the strength of community responses, and the alliances/partnerships with academia and civil society, which assist in countering some of the negative effects.

Legal and ethical issues around incorporating traditional knowledge in polar data infrastructures.

Human knowledge of the polar region is a unique blend of Western scientific knowledge and local and indigenous knowledge. It is increasingly recognized that to exclude Traditional Knowledge from repositories of polar data would both limit the value of such repositories and perpetuate colonial legacies of exclusion and exploitation. However, the inclusion of Traditional Knowledge within repositories that are conceived and designed for Western scientific knowledge raises its own unique challenges. There is increasing acceptance of the need to make these two knowledge systems interoperable but in addition to the technical challenge there are legal and ethical issues involved.

A proposal: an open licensing scheme for traditional knowledge.

The University of Ottawa’s Centre for Law, Technology and Society (CLTS), Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), and Carleton University’s Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC) propose a licensing scheme available to traditional knowledge holders. The scheme aims to assist traditional knowledge holders communicate their expectations for appropriate use of their knowledge to all end users.

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