IRES Seminar Series

The IRES Seminar Series showcases the research of our graduate students, faculty and guests. There are also monthly professional development seminars.

The seminars run every Thursday during the Winter Session (September to April) from 12:30pm to 1:30pm (Pacific Standard Time).

Winter 2020 Term 1 Seminars will be held via Zoom. Please email Bonnie Leung ( for the Seminar Zoom link.

Select seminar videos are available for viewing here.


December 3, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Inês Azevedo (Last Seminar in Term 1)

In this talk I will cover three related recent papers: 1) Comparing the Health Damages from Air Pollution to the Value Added in the U.S. Economy (PNAS, 2019). 2) Fine Particulate Air Pollution from Electricity Generation in the US: Health Impacts by Race, Income, and Geography (ES&T, 2019). 3) What are the best combinations of fuel-vehicle technologies to mitigate climate change and air pollution effects across the United States? (ERL, 2020). Read More

November 26, 2020: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Cicely Blain

November 26, 2020: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Cicely Blain Read More

November 12, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Scott McKenzie and Nima Jamshidi

November 12, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Scott McKenzie and Nima Jamshidi Read More

November 5, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Claire Kim

Interview with Dr. Claire Kim: Race and Human-Animal Relations Read More

October 29, 2020: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Baruch Fischhoff

The talk will address opportunities for integrating research and public service by creating empirically based communications responsive to user needs. It will draw examples from a diverse application areas. Read More

October 22, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Juno Salazar Parreñas

The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly demonstrated the depth of social inequalities in North America, leading to an agitated summer of 2020 that has been characterized by popular uprising and growing support of social movements for Black Lives Matter and prison abolition. Universities have joined in on antiracist language, declaring statements against racism, violence, and white supremacy. Are these recent efforts an example of the decolonization of institutions or might they serve as examples of the institutionalization of decolonization? Considering past efforts to decolonize higher education and a colonial-era ethnological and ethological museum, this talk considers the pitfalls of ambiguity between aspirations for transformation on one hand and the cynicism of merely symbolic gestures on the other. Read More

October 15, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Balsher Sidhu and Luis Felipe Melgarejo Perez

October 15, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Balsher Sidhu and Luis Felipe Melgarejo Perez Read More

October 8, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with César Rodríguez-Garavito

Climate litigation based on human rights is proliferating around the world. From the Netherlands to Mexico, from Canada to South Africa to the Philippines, from the Arctic to the Amazon, from domestic to international courts, litigants are bringing legal challenges against governments and corporations to hold them accountable for massive human rights violations associated with global warming. This talk presents the first systematic study of the universe of rights-based climate litigation around the world. The talk discusses the origins and the emergent legal doctrines as well as the  impact and limitations of rights-based litigation in advancing climate action.    Read More

October 1, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Anthony Persaud and Ilana Judah

October 1, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Anthony Persaud and Ilana Judah Read More

September 24, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Areef Abraham

Areef has worked for over three decades with underserved communities who struggle to pay their energy bills. This presentation will discuss how and why it all began, and the successes and pitfalls he experienced along the way. Areef’s learned experience speaks to the importance of working effectively at the interface of communities, governments and tradespeople to improve outcomes for all. Read More

September 17, 2020: IRES Faculty Roundtable with Milind Kandlikar, David Boyd, and Claire Kremen

In March and April of 2020 as COVID-19 lockdowns were put in place around the world, observers noticed a palpable change in environmental conditions. As economic activity and movement of people stalled environmental quality improved. For example, air quality in places with notoriously bad levels of pollution became a lot better, observations of animal and bird life went up, and emissions of carbon dropped. However, six months into the pandemic we seem to be back to where we were in early 2020. This panel will address what we have learnt from this episode, and whether it provides lessons for a longer term transition to improved environmental and human health protection, including: the relationship between emerging infectious diseases, wildlife trade and deforestation, and the importance of actions to prevent future pandemics; how the covid 19 reveals the many frailties of our food system; and the future implications of CoVID for air quality and climate change. Read More

September 10, 2020: IRES Awards Session with Kai Chan (First Seminar in Term 1)

Want to write an application that you’ll be proud of for an NSERC or SSHRC master’s or doctoral award? Nervous about crafting a research proposal that will make your application stand out? Join this Awards Info Session and kick-start the writing process with some great tips and direction for creating a successful application. Read More

March 12, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Helina Jolly

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. Read More

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

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. Read More

February 27, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Jiaying Zhao

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. Read More

February 20, 2020: No Seminar Due to Reading Week

There will be no seminar on Thursday, February 20 due to Reading Break (Feb 18-21). Read More

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

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

February 6, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Mark Harris

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.  Read More

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

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. Read More

January 23, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Lenore Newman

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. Read More

January 16, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Bronwyn McIlroy-Young and Harold Eyster

January 16, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Bronwyn McIlroy-Young and Harold Eyster Read More

January 9, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Rashid Sumaila

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was tasked with eliminating overfishing fisheries subsidies way back in 2001. This is yet to be accomplished. To support the ongoing WTO negotiations, the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC has been providing fisheries subsidies data and analysis to the global community since the early 2000s.  Dr. Rashid Sumaila will present his latest findings and describe the state of play in the struggle to discipline harmful subsidies. Read More

IRES Seminar Series resumes January 9, 2020 with IRES Faculty Associate Rashid Sumaila

The IRES Seminar Series will resume on January 9, 2020 with speaker Rashid Sumaila.  Read More

November 28, 2019: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Navin Ramankutty and Terre Satterfield

November 28, 2019: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Navin Ramankutty and Terre Satterfield Read More

November 21, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Wendy Jepson

Dr. Wendy Jepson holds a University Professorship in the Department of Geography at Texas A&M University where she has been on faculty since receiving her Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA in 2003. Since 2016, Dr. Jepson has been a Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza (Brazil). Her research addresses contemporary debates in political ecology, human-environment interactions, and water security and governance. Read More

November 14, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Paige West

Paige West is The Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University where she holds an endowed chair and the director of the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University. Her broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. Since the mid 1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea. She is the author of three books and the editor of five more. Dr. West has written about environmental conservation and international development, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption. She is currently writing about climate change. Read More

November 12, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Matthew Schnurr

Matthew Schnurr is Associate Professor in the Department of International Development Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He received his PhD from the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia in 2008. His research interests lie primarily in agricultural development, environmental justice and farmer decision-making. His new book entitled Africa’s Gene Revolution: Genetically Modified Crops and the Future of African Agriculture will be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in 2019. Read More

November 7, 2019: IRES Student Seminar with David Righter and Livia Mello

November 7, 2019: IRES Student Seminar with David Righter and Livia Mello Read More

October 31, 2019: IRES Student Seminar with Vikas Menghwani and Maayan Kreitzman

October 31, 2019: IRES Student Seminar with Vikas Menghwani and Maayan Kreitzman. Read More

October 24, 2019: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Vicki Lynne George

Vicki is from the Wet'suwet'en Nation. She is trained in the legal, executive and corporate world with over 23 years of experience. Born and raised in the lower mainland, Vicki continues to stay connected with her Indigenous roots and extended family members in Northern BC. She understands the importance of carrying on the work of her parents and family relating to Indigenous issues. Her father, Ron George, was a prominent Indigenous leader and her late mother, Phyllis, worked at key Indigenous organizations. Vicki grew up with law, politics and history discussions around the dinner table. Her parents' knowledge and teachings enable Vicki to continue their work and achievements in today's world. Vicki developed and produced "The Constitution Express: A Multimedia History" (2005-2006), a joint project with UBC's First Nations Studies program and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Generational activism has deep roots for Vicki. Her father was a key participant and organizer in the Constitution Express, and Vicki's multimedia project started an archive for this historical movement that resulted in Section 35 being included in the Canadian Constitution. To date, Vicki’s project is still the only published and significant work on this extraordinary Indigenous history. This university project led to her being a documentary subject in the film "The Road Forward", (released 2017) written and directed by Marie Clements. Vicki has screened "The Road Forward" film around BC to further Truth and Reconciliation education in companies, universities and at film festivals. Vicki is a guest speaker at companies and universities in the lower mainland, including Vancity Savings Credit Union, National Film Board, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. She also applies her knowledge and experience with consultation services that includes Indigenous cultural awareness training, history and advancing initiatives in companies and post-secondary institutions. Vicki builds bridges and works at improving relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to move forward with Truth and Reconciliation. Read More

October 17, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Sieglinde Snapp

Sieglinde Snapp is a Professor of Soils and Cropping Systems Ecology, Assoc. Director, Center for Global Change Earth Observations at Michigan State University, and Senior Advisor to Innovation Systems for the Drylands, ICRISAT. She is ‘Mother of the Mother and Baby Trial’, used in dozens of countries as a participatory action approach to improve research relevance. Through interdisciplinary, open-access science, her team has helped shape agricultural policy in Malawi, flagged declines in soil productivity, and identified overlooked forms of crop diversity for sustainable food systems: She is an Agronomy Fellow and a Soil Science Fellow, and received the ASA International Service Award. Read More

October 10, 2019: IRES Student Seminar with Evan Bowness and Abhishek Kar

October 10, 2019: IRES Student Seminar with Evan Bowness and Abhishek Kar. Read More

October 3, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Claudia Ituarte-Lima

Dr. Claudia Ituarte-Lima is research associate at IRES at UBC. She is also a researcher on international law at Stockholm Resilience Centre and affiliated senior researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights. For more than 15 years, she has specialized in the human rights, biodiversity and climate law nexus both in theory and practice. Her focus is on law and policy for sustainability and social justice and the transformation of international law into new governance forms at national and community levels. Her methodology ranges from extensive fieldwork especially in Africa and Latin America, to studies examining the interactions of international regimes .Claudia provides expert advise to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment. Read More

September 26, 2019: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Kai Chan, Amanda Giang, and Leila Harris

After graduation, many graduate students will go on to hold influential and rewarding jobs in the governmental, policy, advocacy, and/or private sectors. But for those aiming to stay in academia, the competition can be fierce, with less than 25% of doctoral graduates obtaining a tenure-track faculty position. In this panel discussion, we speak with three faculty members with various perspectives on what it takes to set yourself apart when applying for -- and hopefully landing -- a faculty position. Read More

September 19, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Daniel Steel

Dr. Steel is Associate Professor in the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics in the School of Population and Public Health. His research focuses on values and science in the context of environmental and public health issues. Dr. Steel is also the author of Philosophy and the Precautionary Principle: Science, Evidence and Environmental Policy (2015 Cambridge University Press). Current research includes SSHRC funded projects on concepts of diversity their relevance to science and public engagement with health policy decisions. Read More

September 12, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Claire Kremen

Claire Kremen will discuss why conservation in working lands is needed to complement and enhance the effectiveness of protected areas, describe several agricultural case studies where working lands conservation appears successful, and discuss meta-analysis results, barriers to adoption and potential solutions through community engagement. Read More

September 5, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Tahia Devisscher

Dr Tahia Devisscher has ten years of international experience working at the interface of environment and development. In her work, Tahia adopts systems thinking and interdisciplinarity to integrate traditional knowledge with scientific data, and assess possible climate adaptation strategies based on ecosystem management. Tahia has a PhD from the University of Oxford (UK), and is a Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow at the University of British Columbia (Canada). Currently, she is investigating the extent to which urban forests increase social-ecological resilience to climate change, and improve the way in which urban residents relate to, benefit from, and engage with nature. Read More

April 11, 2019: IRES Student Symposium Speakers: various RES Master and PhD students

The IRES Student Symposium showcases research done by our Masters and PhD students. Presenters include John Driscoll, Naya Arriagada Oyarzún, Krista Cawley, Victor Lam, Steve Williams and Connor Robinson. ************************************************************************************************ Photo Credit: from Read More

April 4, 2019: IRES Faculty Seminar with Navin Ramankutty

Navin Ramankutty is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change and Food Security at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. ************************************************************************************************ Photo Credit: Graham McDowell Read More

March 28, 2019: IRES Professional Development Seminar: Non-academic career options

************************************************************************************************ Photo Credit: Madison Stevens, IRES PhD Student Read More