News and Events

Adrian Semmelink, MSc – New Entrant Agrologist, BC Ministry of Agriculture

Posted on: March 24, 2020

This interview features Adrian Semmelink, a 2018 RES MSc graduate!  Adrian is currently working as a New Entrant Agrologist at the BC Ministry of Agriculture.   What is your current position?  New Entrant Agrologist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture.   What kinds of responsibilities do you have in your current position, and what kinds of […]

Seeking a more balanced indicator, Canada set to leave GDP in the dust

Posted on: March 18, 2020

Fernanda Tomaselli, a lecturer at UBC’s faculty of forestry, and Sandeep Pai, a PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC, wrote about using traditional economic measures such as GDP growth to measure Canada’s progress.

Overhaul your carbon footprint: These are the most impactful choices you can make

Posted on: February 10, 2020

UBC psychologist Jiaying Zhao, Canada Research Chair in behavioural sustainability, spoke about carbon footprint and which aspects of our daily lives contribute to climate change.

Dr. Hannah Wittman Awarded UBC Killam Research Fellowship

Posted on: February 6, 2020

  Congratulations to Dr. Hannah Wittman, Professor at the UBC Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) and the UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS), for being awarded a UBC Killam Research Fellowship.

UBC Women in Science: Amanda Giang

Posted on: February 6, 2020

For the days leading up to International Day of Women and Girls in Science, UBC Science is featuring 10 women researchers who are making their mark at UBC and beyond. Dr. Amanda Giang, a UBC IRES and Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor is the 6th feature for this #WomenInScience campaign!

Bridging science and policy: UBC scientists are building relationships with Canada’s political leaders

Posted on: February 5, 2020

Q&A with Dr. Jiaying Zhao, Associate Professor, UBC Department of Psychology and UBC Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, on a new partnership program, Science Meets Parliament (SMP), where scientific delegates met directly with policy decision-makers for the first time in Canadian history.

March 12, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Helina Jolly

Posted on: February 4, 2020

Gidiku Vapathu is an ethnographic research documentary about the Indigenous Kattunayakan (Nayaka) people of India. In Kattunyakan language, ‘Gidiku Vapathu’ means 'Going to the forest' (Gidiku - Forest; Vapathu - Going). A term commonly used by the community members to invite their friends and family as they start their daily walk into the forest.

Understanding The Great Climate Science Scenario Debate

Posted on: February 4, 2020

Forbes quoted Justin Ritchie and Hadi Dowlatabadi from UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC, about the RCP8.5 pathway.

We may avoid the very worst climate scenario. But the next-worst is still pretty awful.

Posted on: January 31, 2020

Hadi Dowlatabadi, a professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC, says the levels of coal use in the high-end warming scenario were always implausible given the world’s coal reserves.

Ottawa closer to single-use plastic ban after finishing science assessment

Posted on: January 29, 2020

UBC environmental lawyer David Boyd says Canada needs to take action to match the rhetoric about the single-use plastic ban.

March 18, 2020: Building Sustainable Futures with Holly Samuelson (Harvard)

Posted on: January 28, 2020

This talk presents research using building performance simulation and other methods to improve energy and environmental performance and human health in buildings and cities. Topics include improving modeling methods for urban context, stormwater, occupant behavior, and occupant views. Other topics include investigations into heat vulnerability at the building and city scale, as well as moisture and mold performance of buildings in future climates. 


Posted on: January 20, 2020

    Future Global Leaders is a Pre-University Program for high school students ages 15 – 18 run by Extended Learning. The two-week course (July 26th – August 8th) includes three hours of morning classes and afternoon workshops focused on University preparation and social activities.  IRES offers one class entitled ‘Introduction to Climate Change and […]

March 11, 2020: Building Sustainable Futures with Mikhail Chester (Arizona State)

Posted on: January 3, 2020

In this talk, Dr. Chester will attempt to characterize the emerging uncertainty and complexity that is becoming the new normal for infrastructure. In doing so, he will describe the changing relationship between infrastructure and the environment, how infrastructure implementation and operation have become wicked and complex problems, and how the accelerating integration of cyber technologies is likely to fundamentally shift the capabilities and vulnerabilities of infrastructure. He will discuss how our approaches to infrastructure need to shift from a focus on the complicated problems that we tackled in the past century, to a paradigm that acknowledges the growing complexity in the Anthropocene and our inability to manage it. As part of this, agility and flexibility will need to be core design principles (instead of rigidity) and education will need to be transitioned towards training infrastructure managers for goals of guiding complex systems.

March 5, 2020: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Tom Hetherington

Posted on: January 3, 2020

People from all walks to life are struggling to cope with the emotional impact of the climate crisis. In this Professional Development Seminar, Tom will share strategies and supports from the “From Climate Grief to Acton (FCGA)” group for dealing with feelings associated with eco-grief and/or climate anxiety, including non-judgmental personal storytelling, building communities of mutual support, mindfulness exercises, and self-empowering action planning.

February 27, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Jiaying Zhao

Posted on: January 3, 2020

A growing body of research suggests that direct cash transfers are an effective solution to reduce global poverty, although most evidence comes from developing countries. The current study is the first randomized control trial in developed countries examining the impact of unconditional cash transfers on homeless individuals. Specifically, we distributed a one-time unconditional cash grant of $7,500 to each of 50 homeless individuals in Vancouver, with another group as controls. Our preliminary data show that the cash transfer results in significant improvements in housing stability, food security, savings, and cognitive function, with no increases in spending on temptation goods. Based on a cost-benefit analysis, the cash transfer results in net savings per person per month via reduced shelter use. Our preliminary findings suggest that unconditional cash transfers can be an effective and cost-effective solution to reduce homelessness in developed countries.

February 13, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Juan Diego Martinez and Andrea Byfuglien

Posted on: January 2, 2020

February 13, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Juan Diego Martinez and Andrea Byfuglien

February 6, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Mark Harris

Posted on: January 2, 2020

On December 1, 2019, for the first time in history, Indigenous communities from across Australia danced in unison at the same time, dancing for Country, for ancestors and for healing. For the first time in over 150 years, Corroboree took place on Gundungurra Country (in south-eastern New South Wales). In this presentation I want to juxtapose this moment with the recent history of moves to achieve Reconciliation in Australia that began with the establishment of a Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 1991 and was followed by the attempts to comprehend Australia’s history of forced removal of Aboriginal children from the 1900s through to the 1970s (dubbed the Stolen Generations). This presentation will consider this historical context and the question of whether Reconciliation is possible in a settler-colonial society such as Australia and what lessons (if any) might be drawn for non-Indigenous peoples seeking to achieve Reconciliation. 

February 5, 2020: Building Sustainable Futures with Susan Amrose (MIT)

Posted on: January 2, 2020

This talk will cover these innovations, as well as their successive demonstration through a series of grid and off-grid pilot-scale systems operating in India, Gaza, and New Mexico. The co-development of these innovations with our industrial partner will be highlighted, as well as the path to commercialization and key roles of the research team and industrial partner throughout this process. Key technical factors that are necessary for long term sustainability, which were made evident during field trials, will be discussed, along with their (evolving) solutions. The potential to leverage these innovations to provide an economically viable option for the desalination of irrigation water, possibly paired with water efficient drip irrigation to reduce water demand, will be briefly explored.

January 30, 2020: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Steve Chignell, Erika Luna Perez, Leonora Crema, and Stephanie Savage

Posted on: January 2, 2020

Scholarly publishing is in crisis. A handful of corporations own most of the world’s top academic journals, making as much as 37% profit from library subscriptions, paywalls, and the volunteered time of researchers. Publishers have also found new ways of monetizing open access, as scholars seeking to make their results open to the public pay thousands of dollars for each paper published without a paywall. Meanwhile, companies have developed a suite of metrics that are now being sold to universities as a way to ‘track impact’ and boost rankings. This increases the pressure to publish, spurring the proliferation of hundreds of new journals of varying quality. This seminar will describe how we got here and how you, as scholars and authors, can navigate this complex system. It will then open into a discussion exploring potential alternatives and challenges to realizing them.

January 23, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Lenore Newman

Posted on: January 1, 2020

The global environmental impact of rising consumption of animal products presents serious environmental challenges. One alternative is cellular agriculture: the production of animal products in-vitro. Such “clean meat” technologies promise improvements in environmental metrics, animal welfare, and human health. This discussion highlights research into the potential impact of cellular agriculture on the dairy industry; though cellular dairy could offer significant ecological benefits, these could be countered by intensification of agricultural activity in equatorial regions for the production of feedstocks for cellular agriculture. Using the concept of telecoupling, an umbrella concept that refers to socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances, this talk examines the policy landscape needed to prevent unequal distribution of the costs and benefits of alternatives to animal products.