Environmental reporting, or boxing?

By |October 7th, 2016|

Popular discussion of environmental issues has always resembled a boxing match. Too often, news reporters pit two diametrically opposed scientists together, providing a mental image of lab-coated scientists furiously waving reams of graphs at each other. Case in point, last week the Edmonton Journal reported on a new study on contamination in the oil sands […]

Finding Meaning in Environmental Monitoring

By |July 5th, 2016|

All too often in environmental monitoring, we see a change in the environment and have no idea what caused it. For example, fish downstream of an industrial development may be reaching sexual maturity earlier. Is this due to the influence of industry? Climate change? Eutrophication from farming upstream? Results are often frustratingly hard to interpret. […]

The Promise of Different Ways of Knowing

By |June 24th, 2016|

Two papers were recently published in the journal Science that deal with the importance of different perspectives and knowledge in land management. Brondizio and Le Tourneau discussed the importance of including local indigenous populations in land management, and Mistry and Berardi discussed the importance of considering indigenous knowledge when making management decisions. Both papers were […]

What do you DO, exactly?

By |March 9th, 2015|

I struggle to explain to people what I do. It was easier when I was doing research and could say things like the following:

I’m figuring out how bacteria count to ten
I’m artificially evolving E coli
I’m seeing what bacteria live in the snot of small children (spoiler alert: a lot).

Now, as a consultant, I’m finding that I […]

Vaccine Hesitancy and the Complexities of Decision Making.

By |February 20th, 2015|

Once again, vaccine hesitancy has hit the news. As of this writing, 141 cases of measles have been reported in the United States, most stemming from the outbreak centered on Disney Land. Canada is not immune (as it were) to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases; a 2011 survey of Canadian households showed that only 89% […]

Numeracy and the National Post

By |February 6th, 2015|

In 2012 the National Post ran an article by Joe O’Connor where he argued that couples who don’t have children are selfish. It certainly generated a lot of mail, and I imagine that was the point of running it. Joe’s premise that couples who choose not to have children are selfish was probably meant to start […]

Metal Mining Effluent Regulation 10-Year Review

By |February 6th, 2015|

Some disturbing statistics were presented in a guest column in the New York Times: “Welcome to the Age of Denial,” by the University of Rochester physics professor Adam Frank. Roughly half of Americans are creationists, and only 58% are concerned about climate change. These numbers are slightly worse than they were 30 years ago. In […]

Will the flu vaccine give my child narcolepsy?

By |February 6th, 2015|

As my last research job involved vaccine development and safety, I get a lot of emails and Facebook posts relating to the safety of particular vaccines. I often get sent links from Natural News, which is renowned for its biased and inaccurate reporting of anything scientific. In particular, there was a lot of chatter about […]