November 18, 2014: Student Lecture
Rosie Simms and Sarah Klain

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30-1:30 pm

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall

“Water is the basis of everything:” First Nations and the shifting water governance landscape of British Columbia

Presented by Rosie Simms

Rosie SimmsWith increasing legal recognition of Aboriginal rights and title, growing calls for collaborative water governance arrangements with First Nations, and approval of British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act (2014), there is heightened attention to the requirement for First Nations to have an increased and meaningful role in water governance in the province. First Nations across British Columbia have also clearly articulated that water and water governance are priority areas of concern. Within this context, my research examines some historic and present roles and experiences of First Nations in water governance in British Columbia, based primarily on a case study conducted with the Lower Similkameen Indian Band. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of existing water governance concerns that were identified by Lower Similkameen Indian Band interviewees and others, followed by a critical discussion of how a watershed co-governance model could address, or further entrench, existing governance challenges.

No seminar video available.

Bird killer, industrial intruder or essential clean energy contributor? Towards anticipating perceived risks from offshore renewable energy development

Presented by Sarah Klain

sarah klainThe development of offshore wind farms and tidal stream generators has the potential to diminish reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation. Despite their promise of low carbon energy, contention about the costs and environmental impacts of these technologies impedes their deployment. To assess risk perception associated with this technology, I used semi-structured interviews involving a Google Earth seascape visualization of a hypothetical offshore wind farm in Golden Bay, New Zealand, which has suitable wind conditions and water depths. I identified social and cultural values that stakeholders attach to this marine ecosystem, then perceptions of relative risk to ecosystem services from an offshore wind farm. I show how risk perception theory can help predict the relative risk associated with threats to ecosystem services. Additionally, I will provide a brief overview of my future research, which will involve comparing how people who self-identify as Democrat or Republican in Puget Sound, Washington respond to conservative (e.g., free market, energy security) versus liberal (e.g., response to regulatory action) value framing of a tidal stream generator. Understanding risk perception, environmental values, and the influence of group identity can inform science communication and stakeholder engagement processes to improve the acceptability of renewable energy projects and inform siting decisions.

More information about Rosie Simms and Sarah Klain.