June 9, 2015: Special Student Seminar
Yaron Cohen and Alejandra Echeverri

IRES Seminar Series, Special Seminar

Time: 12:30-1:30 pm

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall

Pizza will be served at 12:15pm in the AERL lobby.

Yaron CohenYaron Cohen is a Master of Science student at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability (IRES) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is supervised by Dr. Milind Kandlikar and Dr. Jasenka Rakas (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering – UC Berkeley). He has a bachelor degree in Business Administration from the Interdisciplinary Center – Herlizya (Israel), as well as a LEED Green Associate credential.

Yaron’s research uses organizational GHG accounting tools, as well as other methods to understand how carbon emissions from air-travel are monitored and managed at an airport’s level, and what might be the implications of the current situation on a possible future solution to mitigate GHG emissions from air-travel. Other than airports and sustainable aviation, his research interests include green buildings, sustainable transportation planning at both the city and regional levels, and renewable energy.

Back in 2010 he attended the prestigious leadership program “The Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry” at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, where he took part in a project to develop a community engagement tool for a cement company. In addition, he used to work in business development for a small Israeli start-up company in the clean-energy sector.

Due to his interest in the world of aviation, Yaron enjoys plane-spotting (from time to time), as well as writing his blog “Airportonomy” about the relationship between airports, society, and the environment.
The blog’s address: http://airportonomy.com

Yaron’s Talk Title: Organizational Constraints on Carbon Management in Airports


Airports are complex multi-stakeholder organizations that can be as challenging to manage as small cities, due to the high number of parties involved in their operation. Carbon emissions have begun to occupy an important place in airports’ environmental management plans in the recent years, as part of the overall attempts to reduce carbon emissions from air-travel. As a result of the high number of tenants involved in airports’ operation, collaborative carbon management is required in order to succeed achieving the carbon reduction goals.

My research focuses on airports from around the world, and their ways of managing carbon policies together with their tenants. In this talk I will present the preliminary findings from my survey that was distributed in collaboration with Airport Council International (ACI) to airports in different parts of the world. The purpose of this study is to assess barriers for collaborative carbon management in airports, as reflected in current and planned carbon policies.


Alejandra EcheverriAlejandra Echeverri is a Master of Science student in Resource Management and Environmental Studies. She works under the supervision of Dr. Jiaying Zhao and Dr. Kai Chan and her research focuses on science communication and involvement of local communities for conservation of nature. She holds a BSc in Biology from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia (2012). Her career has focused on several topics including: ornithology, environmental education, peace education and environmental consulting for infrastructure projects.

Alejandra’s Talk Title: Exploring attitudes and preferences toward species at risk in British Columbia



There are 199 species at risk in British Columbia (BC). To elicit public support to conserve biodiversity, it is important to understand people’s attitudes and preferences toward species at risk. Here we examine how people perceive endangered species in BC, how message framing shapes the attitudes toward the species, and whether implicit or explicit preferences determine willingness to pay for conservation. In Study 1, we presented three messages about sea otters to 623 residents in BC, and measured the change in their attitudes toward sea otters using Kellert’s typology of wildlife. The messages were framed as either positive (as a keystone species), negative (resource conflict with First Nations’ fishermen in the West Coast of Vancouver Island), or neutral (biological facts). We found that the negative message promoted the interest in the practical value of sea otters (utilitarian-consumption), their habitats (utilitarian-habitat), and control over sea otters (dominionistic). This shift in attitude occurred even though the negative message was perceived as less convincing and believable than the positive or neutral messages. The positive message, on the other hand, decreased utilitarian-consumption attitudes. In Study 2, we evaluated people’s implicit and explicit preferences of four species at risk in BC (sea otters, American badgers, caribou, and yellow-breasted chat). We found that explicit rather than implicit preference predicts willingness to pay for conservation of each species. This finding holds for both residents in BC (N=55) and outside of BC (N=463). The results from the two studies highlight the importance of attitudes, messaging, and preference when designing conservation campaigns and efforts.