Studies

The CEDAR project research uses critical social science approaches and media interventions that attempt to reveal, critique, and challenge the power structures involved in energy transitions and the messages they promote.

From a critical perspective, the climate crisis is bound up with socially-constructed systems of power that require high levels of energy use tied to economic growth. These systems encourage the reckless extraction of natural resources and exploitation of nature, promote mass consumerism, and lead to a biodiversity crisis, social and economic inequality, militarism and war.

Environmental leader David Suzuki believes: “We can’t truly resolve the many crises we face–climate, biodiversity, health–without shifting from the dominant world view of constant growth and economy above all” (1).

Is endless growth possible on a finite planet? Can we transform our use of energy and find ways to live within our planetary boundaries? How can research contribute to more knowledge and awareness of energy transitions?

Using critical approaches, our team is conducting four linked studies, each co-led by several investigators, encouraging cross-study collaboration. Click on the study title link to learn more.

1. Media analysis identifies and studies the range of energy transition discourses across the spectrum, in New Brunswick mass media and independent media in both English and French, as well as how stories about the energy transition circulate on social media.

2. Key actor analysis sheds light on the social production of dominant discourses by mapping out the dominant actors and institutions involved in energy transitions in Canada, with a focus on New Brunswick.

3. Participatory action research brings together climate and environmental activists and leaders and Indigenous knowledge holders to articulate their visions for a sustainable future with climate justice, and to produce stories for different media formats to counter the dominant discourses.

4. Strategies for more democratic media analyzes how counter discourses can contribute to a more democratic media environment about the climate crisis, by developing media strategies for climate justice actors to challenge the hegemony around energy transitions.

(1) Suzuki, D. (2021). Federal election requires serious shift on climate, justice and health. Rabble, August 25.

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The Plutonium Project

In the 2023 winter academic term, in anticipation of the CEDAR project, the investigators at St. Thomas University engaged eight students as research assistants in the Plutonium Project. During the term, the students investigated the proposal to develop new nuclear reactors (SMRs) and to reprocess plutonium at Point Lepreau on the Bay of Fundy. More info about the project and a display of the students’ final work is HERE.

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