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Barry's Cumulative Effects INSIDER REPORT for 2024.01.12

cfx connection cumulative effects health planning sustainability water Jan 15, 2024

"People lose their way when they lose their why." - Gail Hyatt

I asked my parents for a microscope ๐Ÿ”ฌ for my 11th Birthday present and they came through!  A Tasco Deluxe Microscope that came in a black wooden case with brass hinges on the lid – suitable for taking it to the field.  I was looking at everything from my own blood cells to squashed mosquitoes. 

Barry and his microscope in 1977

Mom told me that ponds were amazing ecosystems filled with life so small we couldn’t see it – unless we had a microscope.  One day mom and I got in her orange Volkswagen ๐Ÿž bug to find a suitable pond for samples. Read about that amazing day in my blog post.  

I was able to share that amazing experience with my children, Cassidy & Jake. โค๏ธ And when my grandkids come along, I want to be able to share it with them too! But I’m not sure I will be able to.  

The pond ๐Ÿธ we went to is drained by a small creek that runs just 4km where it meets the Beaver River.  And today that creek has to cross 4 roads, a railway, a pipeline, a 100-meter-wide electricity transmission line with all the trees cut right down to the ground, they might even be using herbicide.  In fact I looked on Google Earth and the creek now is never more than 200 meters from human footprint (see screenshot below).  The city, the airport, and agriculture fields are all creeping closer and closer.  

If that trend continues, the cumulative effects of all of that, I can’t be certain the pond will be there.

And isn’t that really why we are all working on cumulative effects?  It’s not just because it’s our job or we need a regulatory certificate. It's about sustainability ๐ŸŒ. We all know that we have a responsibility to take care of nature and the way it’s going, we’re not sure we are doing that.  We are not sure business as usual is sustainable.  We aren’t sure we are leaving enough for our grandkids.

Why cumulative effects?  It demands that we have a systems view of life and that is a unifying vision for all of us.

The Pond near 417 Squadron, CFB Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada



Planning is more valuable than the plan!

failing to plan is planning to fail

Google now returns about 76 million results when you search for this quote. So lots of people talk about it – but how many do it well? The most important part of that quote is that you must plan – not get a plan – it’s a verb, an action ๐Ÿš€. Don't just make a plan or worse yet - outsource it.  You must do the planning yourself or it is of little value.  

When I work with my clients on CFX, we talk more about programs than individual assessments in part because your plan probably has a half-life โณ of about 3 months.  This is also why scenario planning is incredibly valuable in the context of impact assessment and monitoring.  

Over the coming months via this regular CFX Connection Insider Report, I'm going to continue to share cumulative effects current events, findings and research. 

In addition to that, I'm also going to walk through many of the steps of using scenario planning as it relates to holistic cumulative effects assessment in the context of decision-making, 

And even better ๐Ÿ˜€, I'll be sharing opportunities with you, my highly valued subscribers, exclusive access and discounts to CFX training, reference libraries, assessment tools, and templates you can use in your own cumulative effects work!

Read more about planning vs plans in my blog post.


CFX In Health News

Here's a few news reports connecting land use cumulative effects to human health that recently caught my eye ๐Ÿค“

Yes, assess CFX of pesticides as long as it doesn't affect approval times?

Exposure to various environmental stressors or contaminants is an important area of cumulative effects assessment and management.  The Ontario Federation of Agriculture provided feedback to Health Canada on proposed amendments to requirem the Minister of Health to consider the cumulative effects on the environment of pesticides โ˜ ๏ธ that have a common mechanism of toxicity. "OFA supports assessment of the cumulative environmental effects of pesticides so long as that assessment is science-based, supported by evidence and does not add time to the lengthy approval process."  Read the article here:

Cumulative Economic Effects of Food Insecurity

The impacts of inadequate access to food increases the number of people suffering from chronic diseases—thereby straining healthcare and social safety net systems.  Further. food insecurity slashes workforce productivity by increasing the number of sick days that workers take and reducing their performance on the job. The cumulative effect can be costly, with one estimate suggesting it costs ๐Ÿ’ฐ billions annually. Read more here:

On a lighter note, my standing desk is helping me burn more calories - cumulatively ๐Ÿ˜€

Barry Zooming at his standing desk

According to a report by Medical Daily, standing burns more calories than sitting.  " can burn anywhere between 70 to 95 calories an hour when you stand๐Ÿงโ™‚๏ธ, while it is between 65 to 85 calories an hour when you ๐Ÿช‘ sit. Although the difference may not seem big, the cumulative effect becomes significant over a period. The calories burned while standing also depend on sex, age, height and weight." In comparison to sitting, standing is thought to lower the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and premature death. Read the full article here:

I have an adjustable desk and one of my favourite ways to use it is to stand during Zoom or Teams calls.  It keeps me alert, I'm not slouching and it lifts up your abs so you sound better talking.  Try it out ๐Ÿ™Œ.  

 Everything Is Connected


Unless captioned otherwise, images sourced from under a subscription licence.