News

Below are news items from the UBC IRES community.

Expert Opinion: The Right To Breathe Clean Air

In the recovery from this pandemic, leaders gathering at the United Nations have the opportunity and duty to “simultaneously tackle the deadly pollution and work to achieve everyone’s right to breathe clean air,” urges IRES prof David Boyd. Boyd is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, and presented a report […]

City Bar Association Urges UN to Formally Recognize Human Right to a Healthy Environment

The New York City Bar Association, a group of over 24,000 lawyers and law students, joins IRES prof David Boyd in pushing the United Nations to recognize the human right to a healthy environment by the end of this year. Among specifically listed goals, the bar association calls on the U.S. permanent representative to the […]

People don’t really grasp how their actions impact climate, study shows

A study led by IRES prof Jiaying Zhao and Simon Donner & Seth Wynes of UBC Geography looked at how well people understand the climate impact of individual actions. Unfortunately, balancing a carbon budget is not intuitive for most people. Consumers struggle to make tradeoffs between sets of different actions that impact climate.

Reintroducing sea otters is good for the environment and the economy, and both matter

A UBC study led by Edward Gregr, an adjunct professor at IRES, notes the economic costs and long-term benefits of sea otter recovery. While sea otters are detrimental to fisheries income, economic gains in other sectors outweigh these losses.

Think You’re Making Good Climate Choices? Take This Mini-Quiz

An intuitive questionnaire tests the user’s ability to make trade-offs that impact individual carbon emissions. The New York Times quiz is based on a study by researchers in IRES and UBC’s Department of Geography.

‘Non-union’ bees make blueberries thrive — but only if they have a home

Native bumblebees — as opposed to the semi-domesticated honeybees that farmers are increasingly reliant on — are better for many B.C. farming systems, observed Claire Kremen, prof at UBC in zoology and IRES.

Commentary: Road to recovery post-coronavirus paved with green bricks

In the aftermath of COVID-19, UBC IRES and IOF prof Kai Chan resists a return to our pre-pandemic practices that contribute to crises in climate and ecology by detailing transformative pathways towards a thriving, sustainable future.

After COVID-19, nations can tackle environmental crises by shifting priorities to sustainable development

Nations are focused on "restoring pre-COVID-19 economies rather than building resilient social and ecological systems for thriving sustainability." Kai Chan, prof at UBC IRES and UBC IOF, addresses the way forward by discussing several inconvenient truths.

A scientist wanted us to stop flying. Just not like this.

Navin Ramankutty, a UBC professor at the school of public policy and global affairs and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, spoke about being selective about flying and pointed out the focus on flying might put too much attention on individual behavior, deflecting it from the structural problems related to climate change.

Draft National Fisheries Policy seeks big growth but ignores fishers

Sahir Advani, a postdoctoral research fellow at UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, discussed the six dimensions of fisheries sustainability and said there needs to be greater consideration of long-term sustainability and across social, ecological, ethical and institutional dimensions for fisheries to become truly sustainable in India.

Hummingbirds are able to see millions more colours than human

Research co-authored by Harold Eyster, a UBC PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, shows hummingbirds see an array of combination colours involving UV that humans are blind to.

Graham McDowell Awarded Sumaila-Volvo Graduate Prize in Environmental Sustainability

The Sumaila-Volvo Graduate Prize in Environmental Sustainability is a $3,850 prize has been made available through an endowment established by Dr. Rashid Sumaila upon being named the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize laureate for a Master’s or Ph.D. student whose peer-reviewed publications to date are expected to have the most significant impact on the field of environmental sustainability.     […]

Recovery of sea otter populations yields more benefits than costs

A study led by UBC professor Edward Gregr, an adjunct professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, examined the economic costs and benefits of reintroducing sea otters into the North Pacific region.

AERL ROCR (Return to On-Campus Research) Protocols: Phase 1

Dear IRES Community,   Apologies for the delay in getting this update out but we’ve been working very hard on getting the protocols for Phase 1 of the AERL ROCR (Return to On-Campus Research) finalized. Note that “In Phase 1, all Science faculty, staff and research personnel who can work off campus must continue to do […]

The Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability is proud to stand in solidarity with UBC’s Black Student Union and all people protesting police violence against Black people in Canada and the United States.

IRES Statement of Solidarity The IRES community categorically denounces the recent events of anti-Black racism and police brutality in North America. We denounce the excessive use of police and military force by the United States government against those protesting police brutality towards Black Americans and people of colour.  Black lives matter. The lives of George […]

How Quickly Will Your Business Recover? Lessons Learned From Natural Disasters

Forbes highlighted a study co-written by Stephanie Chang, a professor at UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and School of Community and Regional Planning, that analyzed patterns of economic recovery following a dramatic natural disaster.

Congratulations 2019 BC Studies Prize Award Recipient: Johnnie Manson

Congratulations to UBC IRES PhD student, Johnnie Manson, for being the 2019 BC Studies Prize award recipient.

COMMENTARY: The pandemic has taught us the importance of preparation. Let’s apply that lesson

The COVID-19 crisis shows that over-preparing is the right thing to do. UBC professor Kai Chan says we should learn from that experience and act to prevent climate change.

Congratulations to the 2019/2020 Freda Pagani Award Winners!

Congratulations to the 2019/2020 recipients of the Freda Pagani Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis and the Freda Pagani Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation!   Freda Pagani Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis Emily Mistick Supervised by: Mark Johnson Forest harvest and water treatability : analysis of dissolved organic carbon in headwater streams of contrasting forest harvest […]

Sandeep Pai on Ensuring a ‘Just Transition’ for Fossil Fuel Workers

Sandeep Pai, a PhD candidate at UBC's Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability, says the government needs to do more to help transition fossil fuel employees into the green economy, especially during COVID-19.

What If We Responded to Climate Change Like We Have to Coronavirus?

Jiaying Zhao, a professor in UBC's psychology department and in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, shared why it’s hard for us to respond to climate change with the same urgency of COVID-19.

B.C. farmers retool their offerings to sell more locally

Hannah Wittman, a professor and academic director of the UBC Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, says we need to build a resilient, regional food system and the government needs to provide economic support to farmers and to make sure they have access to their labour in times of crisis.

Vancouver experiences reduced air pollution amid COVID-19 pandemic

Kai Chan, a professor at UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, commented on the substantial improvement in air quality and predicted that it’ll go back to the way it was upon recovery of economic activity.

The importance of relations between politicians and scientists

UBC academics Adam Ford, Cole Burton, Jiaying Zhao, Mary A De Vera and Stephanie Waterman wrote about building links between the scientific and political spheres in Canada.

Biodiversity loss and wildlife trade are making pandemics like COVID-19 more likely, experts say

Kai Chan, a professor at UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, was quoted about the prevalence of wet markets in South Asia where fresh meat, fish, produce and other perishable goods are sold.

Zero Hour: There’s no stopping climate change, but how bad it gets is still up to you

Rolling Stone cited a study co-authored by Justin Ritchie, a UBC postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, that examined emissions projections and the future of climate change.

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

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

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

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

  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

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

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.

Understanding The Great Climate Science Scenario Debate

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.

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

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