See the CEDAR home page for a project summary.
The CEDAR project is based in universities in Fredericton, Moncton and Vancouver. The lead university is St. Thomas University, located on the unceded and unconquered territory of the Wəlastəkwiyik, a place bound by the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725-1779. These treaties also cover Mi’kmaq and Peskotomuhkati nations and territories. Université de Moncton is located on the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq. University of British Columbia is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) people.
CEDAR was developed from the knowledge and lessons learned during the Rural Action and Voices for the Environment (RAVEN) project with researchers and students at the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University. Several researchers now on the CEDAR team who worked on RAVEN identified a need for more research on energy transitions. We wanted to conduct action research and to base the project at St. Thomas University’s Environment and Society program where students are engaged in praxis learning.
The STU team invited researchers working on energy issues at the Université de Moncton and University of British Columbia to join us, and together we wrote the CEDAR funding proposal. We invited research collaborators: Indigenous leaders, independent media and environmental activists, a nuclear expert and climate change leadership trainer.
One of RAVEN’s projects was a book of speculative non-fiction published in 2021, Letters from the Future: How New Brunswickers Confronted Climate Change and Redefined Progress. (See the three-minute book launch video HERE.) The book preface includes: “With the climate changing and a pandemic transforming life as we knew it, the future now seems very uncertain. But now is the time to imagine a better future. The future is created from what we imagine is possible.“
What we imagine is possible for energy transitions is shaped by the media we consume. The editorial of a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication includes words that also describe the focus of the CEDAR research: “In the twenty-first century, our systems and processes of communication are at the centre of a struggle over whether we continue with our energy fantasies or begin to tear them down.“(1).
Many fantasies exist about energy transitions in Canada and New Brunswick, and the discourses that support these fantasies are reinforced in the media. At the same time, counter discourses struggle to claim space in these mediated environments and to tear these fantasies down. The CEDAR project is conducting research at the centre of this struggle.
CEDAR is funded by SSHRC – the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
(1) Gunster, S., Szeman, I., Greaves, M., & Neubauer, R. (2018). Communicating power: Energy, Canada, and the field (s) of communication. Canadian Journal of Communication, 43(1), pp. 3-10.