Conversations from the Edge

Welcome to the CRC blog, where we discuss bleeding edge issues around sustainable community development. The term ‘bleeding edge’ connotes the idea of our failure to somehow or other convince the publics about the urgency of responding to climate change now, and that we need to better communicate the principles and practises of sustainable development to the wider publics. So, yes it takes courage to be 'at the edge', and sometimes one 'bleeds' a lot, but let's start the conversation now. I encourage our students and former students to use this blog and share what they are learning out in the real world.   Ann

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Place, Scale, Limits and Diversity

Just watched this TEDTalk by Edward Burtynsky, a pictoral journey of what I am trying to accomplish through my Canada Research Chair program. It shows how critically important it is for us to engage in sustained dialogue about the meaning of place, that is, what are the characteristics of place we wish to sustain, while recognizing that there are limits to the scale of all of our activities if we want to sustain place, and of course, how to nurture diversity. With respect to the latter, although I think China's policy of one child per family is very necessary, the result will be that in the year 2018, there will be 30 million more men (the population of Canada) than women (per.com. Women's Chinese Delegation to the Canada School of Management, February 2007).

Ann Dale

Noise, Light, Space for Reflection

Noise and light pollution are ubiquitous, especially in large urban centres. Besides affecting our ability to relax, I wonder what they do to our sense of time, and our capacity to take time to reflect on those things that are important to us, what Frankel refers to as 'man's search for meaning'. I truly believe that without the time to reflect, one does not have the sustainability to respond change, to embrace novelty, perhaps even adaptation, and even more critically, for researchers, novel thinking. Many modern day problems require unprecedented collaboration and innovation thinking.

Never mind, what light pollution does for biodiversity, that is, migratory bird paths. That is actually a missing dimension from the CRC research themes of place, scale, limits and diversity, time?

Ann Dale

I wish we talked about noise pollution more

Yesterday I spent the morning at the UBC library doing some research, and I was once again struck by how quiet the library is, and how nice it is to read and take notes in a place with so little background noise. It reminded me that our lives are very very noisy. Even our rural spaces are noisy; I remember being disappointed while canoeing in Algonquin as we could hear trains going by the entire time. The UK government got worried enough about this to commission an interactive map showing noise in major urban areas. One can access it at http://services.defra.gov.uk/wps/portal/noise and notice how much noise is created by highways. Right now I can hear my computer, my fridge, first avenue, and the freeway off in the distance. Noise pollution interrupts sleep and prevents us from totally relaxing while awake. We don't talk as much about inner space these days; maybe we should start.

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