Kai is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton University and Stanford University. He strives to understand how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Kai leads CHANS lab (www.chanslab.ires.ubc.ca), Connecting Human and Natural Systems; he is a Leopold Leadership Program fellow, a director on the board of the BC chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), a director on the board of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology, a member of the Global Young Academy, a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and (in 2012) the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=OByl3J0AAAAJ
An anthropologist by training and an interdisciplinarian by design, Terre’s work concerns sustainable development in the context of debates about cultural meanings, environmental values, perceived risk, environmental and ecosystem health. Difficult environmental policy dilemmas and the qualitative and quantitative methods that might resolve these are of particular interest. Locally, her work pertains to First Nations interest in land management, oil and gas development, and regulatory contexts. Globally, her research incorporates biodiversity management and politics, and the perceived risk of new technologies (biotechnology, fracking and nanotechnology). Terre is also a board member or research scientist for several international initiatives that seek to better integrate social science research into policy analysis normally led by the natural and engineering scientists.
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=1nrd2msAAAAJ&hl=en
Milind Kandlikar (PhD Carnegie Mellon) is a Professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. His work focuses on the intersection of technology innovation, human development and the global environment. Dr. Kandlikar’s current projects include the regulation of agricultural biotechnology including implications for food security; air quality in Indian cities; risks and benefits of nanotechnology; solar lighting systems in the developing world; and development and climate change. He has also published extensively on the science and policy of climate change.
Dr. Stephanie Chang’s research addresses issues of community vulnerability and resilience to natural disasters. Broadly speaking, it investigates three types of questions: What happens in disasters, and why? What can be anticipated in future disasters? And, how can disruption from disasters be effectively reduced? Her work emphasizes economic, geographic, and planning aspects of risk and resilience at the urban scale. She is particularly interested in the role of urban infrastructure such as energy, water, and transportation systems. Dr. Chang has written extensively on socio-economic impacts of disasters, loss estimation models for critical infrastructure systems, infrastructure interdependencies, economic evaluation of disaster mitigations, urban disaster recovery, and long-term urban risk dynamics. She has conducted research on these topics in Canada, the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, and other places. Her current projects focus on coastal hazard risk and resilience in British Columbia. Dr. Chang has served on the U.S. National Research Council’s Committee on Disaster Research in the Social Sciences and its Committee on Earthquake Resilience ¬– Research, Implementation, and Outreach.
Hadi Dowlatabadi’s research is focused at the interface of nature, humans, technology and policy. He uses a systems approach to capture the dynamics of such systems as well as what is known and unknown about it. This permits the use of a value of information approach to focusing on research that matters most. Once the bare bones of a problem are combined with the psychology and sociology of public perception and problem definition the research will identify the paths that have led to the problem and barriers to finding solutions that avoid repeating similar challenges. Hadi has served as Lead Author for the IPCC, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and reviewer for WHO’s Global Burden of Disease. He has worked with 42 PhD students to complete their degrees and published over 150 peer reviewed papers. He has co-founded half a dozen non-profit and for profit initiatives to bring better solutions for meeting human needs.
Hadi is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Engineering & Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is also a University Fellow at Resources for the Future in Washington DC.
Dr. Mark Johnson is working to understand how land use practices influence interactions between hydrological and ecological processes, and how these ecohydrological processes further affect ecosystem services including carbon sequestration. Unraveling interactions between the water cycle and the carbon cycle is essential for improving the sustainability of land and water management, especially under changing climatic conditions. Dr. Johnson’s research in ecohydrology demonstrates that soil carbon processes are also integrally important to the health of freshwater ecosystems and drinking water supplies. Dr. Johnson and his team are testing carbon and water cycle interactions to address questions such as: How much carbon does water transport from the land into freshwater systems? His research can also help to answer very applied questions related to soil fertility and water use such as: How much food can be produced in urban environments, and how much water would that require? To address these and other related questions, Johnson is developing innovative approaches to ecohydrological research in partnership with communities, natural resource management agencies and organizations, and industry.
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=KfQwll4AAAAJ&hl=en
Dr. Gunilla Öberg is inspired by her deep knowledge in chlorine biogeochemistry, environment and sustainability, and her experience as a leader of complex interdisciplinary research and education. Her recent projects address sustainable sanitation planning, particularly in growing urban areas. Questions that drive her work include: What kind of knowledge is needed, used and trusted? How does the knowledge used impact perceived solutions and how are risks and benefits distributed? Research of late involves land-application of biosolids/sewage sludge, contaminants of emerging concern and sustainable sanitation solutions for informal urban settlements. Dr. Öberg also pursues innovations in science education including how to: learn/teach science while recognizing its limits; internalize ideas about bias, uncertainty and ignorance; and distinguish between absence of proof versus proof of absence. Her new pedagogy initiatives include directing UBC’s “First Year Seminar in Science” and developing “Sustainability for the Community and the World”, a 4th year capstone course in UBC’s emerging sustainability concentrations.
John Robinson is a Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the School of the Environment, at the University of Toronto; an Honorary Professor with the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability at The University of British Columbia; and an Adjunct Professor with the Copenhagen Business School, where he is leading the sustainability component of their campus redevelopment process. Prof. Robinson’s research focuses on the intersection of climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainability; the use of visualization, modeling, and citizen engagement to explore sustainable futures; sustainable buildings and urban design; creating partnerships for sustainability with non-academic partners; and, generally, the intersection of sustainability, social and technological change, behaviour change, and community engagement processes.
Dr. Hannah Wittman’s research examines the ways that the rights to produce and consume food are contested and transformed through struggles for agrarian reform, food sovereignty, and agrarian citizenship. Her projects include community-based research on farmland access, transition to organic agriculture, and seed sovereignty in British Columbia, agroecological transition and the role of institutional procurement in the transition to food sovereignty in Ecuador and Brazil, and the role that urban agriculture and farm-to-school nutrition initiatives play in food literacy education.