So it’s been a while since I’ve updated this thing and I realize much has changed since my last post. Primarily, I have successfully defended my dissertation proposal and am now ABD&F (All but Dissertation & French – out dept has a language requirement that I’ve been continually putting off. Time to check the box.).
Looking back over the past failed proposal, this time has been good. I realized my original proposal was more a 10 year research agenda not a proposal for an original piece of research for an apprentice honing his craft. As academics we always want to do the most ground breaking research and change the world. But very few dissertations are or do. The central criterion is “is this an original contribution to knowledge”. That’s a much more humble target for one to achieve.
In that light, my dissertation is now essentially 1/4 of what I originally proposed. I had wanted to compare Alberta and Norway with regard to intergenerational non-renewable resource governance. I wanted to cover both the costs and the benefits of the resource in order to develop a more holistic understanding of intergenerationallu equitable resource governance in both jurisdictions. The problem was that in order to do that I would have to cover fiscal policy, tax regimes, royalty regimes, saving funds, local environmental policy and climate policy in two jurisdictions with a lot of differences. That list right there gives me 12 balls to juggle, not withstanding other issues like nation vs sub-national jurisdiction, federal vs unitary country, political culture, social movements, and so on. The one thing my supervisor kept saying was “make it manageable”.
So here I am. I am no longer covering Norway and, despite climate change being what drew me into questions of intergeneration justice, have dropped the “costs” side of the balance sheet as well. My focus is now on intergenerational issues of non-renewable resource wealth governance in Alberta.
The second thing is that I have also signed up for my 3rd Ride2Survive. It is a 388 single day bike ride from Kelowna to Delta, BC raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society. It is a wonderful event that has changed my life in a number of ways. First, yes it got me hooked on cycling. Second, it taught me the perseverance and determination in ways I never understood. When I first signed up, the biggest ride I had done was 28km. That group trained all of us up so that my first year I rode the whole ride. That taught me that seemingly impossible goals are possible when you plan properly and keep working at it. Something that has proved very useful in the PhD program. Third, it has connected me to a wonderful community that, even though I am currently in Edmonton, I still feel very much a part of. We are all doing what we can to make a difference in the world and this crazy ride is just one of the ways. If you would like to donate you can do so here.
I’ll write more later, but just wanted to give that little synopsis.
Now, back to my french homework.
Je suis un petite poisson!