Roundup: COVID becoming harder to forecast, Paqtnkek mourns Chief Francis, thieves target Pictou cemetery again

Makadunyiswe Ngulube at Clifton Marsh, studying how plant life can protect coastal Nova Scotia. Photo: Danika Van Proosdij

Plus: As the climate crisis worsens, local researchers explore how plants can help protect Nova Scotia from rising sea levels

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Makadunyiswe Ngulube moved to Canada in 2016 to study environmental science. She soon discovered the Intertidal Coastal Sediment Transport Research Unit, and a passion for exploring how plant life can protect communities from rising sea levels.

“We want to find out how we can adapt to storms, what the coastline will look like in the next 10, 20, or 100 years, and whether there’s a way we can slow down the (erosion) process,” she explains. “When we understand the interaction of a vegetation with waves, it’s an easy way for us to start thinking about engineering solutions.”

Makadunyiswe Ngulube at Clifton Marsh. Photo: Danika Van Proosdij

Ameeta Vohra interviews her for Unravel Halifax.

Mahone Bay is one of the communities exploring such solutions, recently completing work with the Coastal Action environmental group on a “living shoreline” to protect the town’s fragile waterfront.

“We’re hoping this pilot site will kickstart a much larger coastal adaptation project,” says Coastal Action team leader Samantha Battaglia. “We’re also hoping that it will help other coastal communities see that there are alternatives that will enhance and project our shorelines from storm surges and coastal erosion.”

Kevin McBain has more for LighthouseNow.

COVID becoming harder to forecast
Now that many governments, including Nova Scotia’s, have cut back COVID-19 testing and tracking, World Health Organization officials caution that approach to the pandemic comes at a high cost.

It’s “so much harder to understand how the virus might be changing,” says WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says in a recent media briefing. “With colder weather approaching in the northern hemisphere and people spending more time indoors, the risks for more intense transmission and hospitalization will only increase in the coming months – not only for COVID-19, but for other diseases, including influenza.” 

World Health Organization officials report 837,823 confirmed new COVID cases around the globe in the last 24 hours. So far, COVID is known to have killed at least 6,443,306 people, including 43,505 in Canada and 484 Nova Scotians.

Chief Tma Francis. Photo: Drake Lowthers

Paqtnkek mourns Chief Francis
Condolences continue to pour into Paqtnkek Mi’qmaw Nation in Antigonish County after sudden death of 40-year-old Chief Tma Francis.

“Our hearts are heavy and it with great sadness that we say farewell to a fellow leader and incredibly special man,” says Chief Annie Bernard-Daisley, co-chair of the Assembly of First Nations. “Chief Tma Francis was a wonderful person, a pleasure to work alongside, and will be missed.”

Jake Boudrot has more for the Reporter.

Thieves target cemetery
Thieves have again hit Pictou’s Haliburton Cemetery, stealing two lawn mowers and a variety of tools. The non-profit Pictou Cemetery Company bought the mowers earlier this year, replacing ones taken in a previous theft.

RCMP Cpl. Natasha Farrell says police are “pretty early” in the investigation and aren’t sharing any leads. Meanwhile, volunteer groundskeeper Jim Martin is again shopping for lawnmowers.

“I won’t be buying new ones,” he says.

Steve Goodwin reports for the Pictou Advocate.

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