What is psychology good for? How can psychology contribute to sustainability? To answer these questions, Dr. Zhao aims to use psychological principles to design behavioral solutions to address sustainability challenges. This approach offers insights on how cognitive mechanisms govern human behavior, and how behavioral interventions can inform the design and the implementation of public policy. Dr. Zhao is currently examining the cognitive causes and consequences of scarcity, what behavioral interventions improve the performance in low-income individuals, how to promote recycling and composting behavior, water and energy conservation, what cognitive, motivational, and sociocultural factors shape the perception of climate change, and how to engage the public on biodiversity conservation.
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=w6d1YTgAAAAJ&hl=en
I am a Ph.D candidate in Dr. Mark Johsnon’s Ecohydro Lab working on the development and application of Water Footprint methods for agricultural products.
My research focuses on Water Footprint assessments within the context of agricultural expansion in Southern Amazonia. This work involves: (1) high frequency field measurements of crop water use with an eddy covariance system, (2) parameterization and validation of crop models for the region’s tropical conditions, and (3) translation of agricultural water use into environmental impacts on the water cycle.
My work contributes to the project “Integrating land use planning and water governance in Amazonia: towards improving freshwater security in the agricultural frontier of Mato Grosso” supported by the Belmont Forum in collaboration with the Tropical Agriculture Department of the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT, Cuiabá, Brazil), UBC’ s Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Woods Hole Research Centre, and the Université du Québec à Montréal’ s Department of Strategy, Social and Environmental Responsibility.
I hold an M.Sc. (Resource Management and Environmental Studies, 2009) and a B.Sc. (Chemistry, 2002) from the University of British Columbia. I am also actively involved in the Water Footprint community through the Ecohydro Lab’s partnership in the Water Footprint Network, ongoing participation in the Water Use in Life Cycle Assessment (WULCA) Ecosystems working group, and FAO’s Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) Partnership.
Visit my website
Publications in Google Scholar
I am a PhD student in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, working with Professors Navin Ramankutty and Milind Kandlikar. My interests lie in environmental sciences, sustainability, and judicious utilization of global water resources. For my doctoral research, I plan to analyze the triangular relationship between current agricultural practices, groundwater depletion, and climate change.
Prior to joining UBC, I completed my MASc in Civil Engineering at University of Toronto, where I examined biological filtration for drinking water treatment.