Introducing the team: Susan O’Donnell, primary investigator

It’s an exciting time to be researching energy transitions. Politicians and people everywhere are thinking and talking about how we will transition off fossil fuels, and those conversations will become more frequent and intense as we get closer to Canada’s targets of massively reducing GHG emissions by 2030 and building net-zero electricity grids by 2035. The conversations we need to be having include: how all energy use contributes to biodiversity loss, the limits to economic growth, and what we can learn from Indigenous nations about caring for all our relations and making decisions with future generations in mind.

I’ve been a social science researcher for almost three decades, starting in 1995 with a three-year contract at Dublin City University in Ireland after completing my Master’s degree at Cardiff University in Wales. When that first research contract ended, I started a research consultancy in Dublin while completing my PhD and worked for five years on projects involving different European countries. I returned to Canada in 2004 to join the National Research Council (NRC) in Fredericton where I worked on projects involving a range of technologies. My current focus – analyzing the social, environmental, economic and political aspects of nuclear technologies – started in 2020, as a researcher at the University of New Brunswick. I moved to St. Thomas University (also in Fredericton) and launched the CEDAR project in 2023.

In addition to and alongside my research work, I’m an activist and writer. I started in the environmental movement at Carleton University in the late 1970s with the radio show Eco-Chamber on CKCU FM and later worked for Pollution Probe in Ottawa. Over the years I’ve been active in the feminist movement and as a leader in my NRC public sector union. I’m currently a volunteer on several boards of non-governmental organizations and a core member of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB).

Introducing the team: Abby Bartlett, research assistant

Hello everyone, I am Abby Bartlett and have recently graduated from St. Thomas University with my BA. I majored in Native Studies while attending STU and in 2017 I graduated from NBCC with the title of Environmental Technologist. My educational background has prepared me for what I currently focus on as I contribute to the project. I started on the CEDAR project in April of 2024 and am currently working on Study Three, Participatory Action Research. My focus on Study Three is to amplifying Indigenous voices, and part of that started with analyzing 30 declarations made by Indigenous Nations regarding nuclear waste. I have also written an article amplifying the voice of Chief Akagi, and the Passamaquoddy Recognition Group Inc, which was posted in the NB Media Co-op. Chief Akagi has requested to have a public hearing to review any new governance arrangement for the Point Lepreau nuclear reactor on Peskotomuhkati homeland. The article was published today and can be found HERE. I am excited to see what comes next as the CEDAR project continues!

Introducing the Team: Janice Harvey, co-investigator

Hi. I’m am an Assistant Professor in Environment and Society at St. Thomas. This is a program unaffiliated with any particular department in which students can earn a Major (as a double major) or a Minor. The first 25 years of my working life was spent with the Conservation Council of NB, an environmental advocacy group formed in 1969 – one of the oldest in Canada. So my academic second career is informed by many years as an advocate and activist in provincial and federal environmental politics. Before working at CCNB, I began my activism as a member of the Maritime Energy Coalition, the group formed in the 1970s to oppose the construction of the Point Lepreau nuclear plant in New Brunswick. So I cut my political teeth on energy issues opposing nuclear power and advocating for a soft energy path, a term coined by Amory Lovins. Forty-five years later, energy issues remain front and centre as we strive for a liveable future in the face of climate change, widespread toxic and radiological contamination, biodiversity loss, and personal and global insecurity. The CEDAR project is one of many initiatives helping to map out that future.

Introducing the Team: Emma Fackenthall, research assistant

Hi, my name is Emma (she/her). I am a third-year undergraduate student at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick double majoring in Environment & Society and English Language and Literature and double minoring in History and Criminology & Criminal Justice. I have been working on the CEDAR project since September 2023 on Study 1: Media Analysis with Dr. Susan O’Donnell, Dr. Janice Harvey, and fellow research assistant Erin Hurley. In the winter of 2023, I was also a Research Assistant for the Plutonium Project led by Dr. O’Donnell and Dr. Harvey.

My work on Study 1 so far has consisted mainly of article coding. Erin and I have been coding articles from the NB Telegraph-Journal for dominant voices, media types, and energy technologies discussed. Once done with those articles, I started to code articles from the NB Media Co-op in the same way, and I am now attempting to do the same with the French newspaper Acadie-Nouvelle. Étant bilingue, je peux travailler sur ce projet aussi bien en français qu’en anglais !

The plan is to compare 54 articles discussing nuclear technologies from the NBTJ, NB Media Co-op, and the Acadie-Nouvelle to see what ideas and voices are the most dominant in each. This data will be used to write a scholarly article on hegemonic and counter-hegemonic nuclear energy discourses in New Brunswick media.

That’s a little about me and what I do! When I am not working on this project or in school, I like to write, bake, hike, garden, camp, kayak, and read.