Beginning Again

This past weekend I read Suleika Jaouad’s book Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted. It follows Jaouad on her four-year journey through leukemia and a bone marrow transfusion in her early 20s. As part of her illness journey, she wrote a column for The New York Times about being young and having cancer, and how clinicians could have dealt with her illness in a way that better addressed her demographic. For example,…

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The Mystery of Snow Worms

Last week during the cold spell we had two feet of snow in the yard. I went out with the dogs on Sunday morning and saw lots of worms on top of the snow – very thin, tan/mustard-coloured, and mostly coiled up. They were everywhere in our big yard – mainly on the paths we’d walked through the snow, but also on the undisturbed snow surface. I’d heard of ice worms, which live on glaciers,…

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Polar Vortex or Not?

This week Texas has seen rolling power outages, some for as long as 10 hours, as unseasonably cold weather blankets the state and demand for power for heating surges. Here on the West Coast, we’ve had below zero temperatures and over 45 cm of snow, while the cold weather has hammered the Prairie provinces with temperatures in the -40⁰C range. A strong cold front has dropped down the centre of North America, reaching as far…

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Polar Vortex or Not?

This week Texas has seen rolling power outages, some for as long as 10 hours, as unseasonably cold weather blankets the state and demand for power for heating surges. Here on the West Coast, we’ve had below zero temperatures and over 45 cm of snow, while the cold weather has hammered the Prairie provinces with temperatures in the -40⁰C range. A strong cold front has dropped down the centre of North America, reaching as far…

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Picture a Scientist

Tomorrow is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and in advance of it my husband and I watched “Picture a Scientist,” a documentary directed by Sharon Shattuck and Ian Cheney, that outlines the sexism faced by women in science. It was recommended to me by a friend and fellow woman in science who works for the government, and who likely has her own stories to tell about harassment. The movie features Dr.…

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A New Canada Water Agency

Since 2020, the federal government has been soliciting input from Canadians about a new Canada Water Agency (CWA). The goal is to connect all departments and programs across governments (federal, provincial, municipal, Indigenous) that deal with freshwater, and to also connect with academics and organizations focused on Canadian freshwater. The government has released a white paper that you can read here, which lays out the groundwork for the agency, and the departments and organizations who…

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Aridification vs. Drought

The Colorado River Basin has experienced high drought levels for the past 20 years. This year’s seasonal drought monitor is no exception – it shows the Colorado Basin as being under an “exceptional” drought, which affects Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. US Drought Monitor, 24 January 2021. See more here. The Colorado Basin is drying significantly, leading to dry alpine tundra and high-elevation forests, and causing more, bigger wildfires. Reservoirs are sinking to…

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It Takes a Village: Writing a Book

It Takes a Village: Writing a Book In the past few weeks I’ve been working on my book proposal. That’s right, I’m writing a non-fiction book about my field research adventures as a woman in science. It’s designed for readers interested in outdoor adventure, science, and women in science, and focuses on my work on snow and ice and climate change in the Arctic, Rockies, north Coast Mountain, and in the Interior of British Columbia.…

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Coal and Water in Alberta

The Alberta government has decided to open up new mountaintop removal mining coal leases on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains, rescinding Coal Policy protections that have been in place since the 1970s, in a bid to inject funds into an economy that’s struggling from low oil prices and the pandemic. The latest proposal is the Grassy Mountain project, designed to extract coal for making steel (not generating power). It is located in the…

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5 Favourite Books of 2020

This New Year I’ve decided to share the best five books I read in 2020 – not the best books ever, but books that changed the way I see things or introduced me to a time and place I would never have thought of reading about. Books that transformed my perception of both history and other cultures. These are the good books, the books that change you for the better. The books that live on…

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