News

Below are news items from the UBC IRES community.

Beyond personal carbon impacts, seeking a more sustainable planet 

Professor Dr. Kai Chan discussed ecological footprint calculators which calculates how much of the environment is needed to sustain a particular lifestyle.

Deniers and doomers are leading the carbon tax opposition 

Dr. Kathryn Harrison (political science) and Dr. Simon Donner (geography, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries) wrote about the importance of Canada’s carbon tax

Sustainable farming does pay off, B.C. scientists find  

Dr. Claire Kremen co-authored a study which found that replacing single-crop farming with a diversity of plants, animals and farming techniques will maintain food production while increasing farmers’ income and reducing negative impacts on the environment and climate.

How do droughts impact the production of goods? 

Professor Dr. Kai Chan discussed how droughts affect crop health and productivity.

EV owners have to drive farther to break even, study suggests 

A new study co-authored by PhD student Bassam Javed and Dr. Amanda Giang explored electric vehicle costs across different provinces and territories.

What’s behind India’s farmer protests? For one thing, climate change 

Dr. Balsher Singh Sidhu, adjunct professor in UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, said Indian farmers are facing difficulty growing rice and wheat because of more frequent heat waves and drought



Climate change will affect your grocery prices  

"The growing vulnerability of our food systems to climate-related extreme weather underscores the urgent need for more robust climate action" - Dr. Navin Ramankutty and PhD candidate Kushank Bajaj are featured in the Hill Times and argue that climate change and extreme weather events will affect the prices of fruits and vegetables in Canada.

This is why an electric vehicle will cost you more in Ontario than other provinces 

A new study co-authored by PhD student Bassam Javed, Dr. Amanda Giang and Dr. Milind Kandlikar explored electric vehicle costs across different provinces and territories and is featured in CBC News, CTV News, and the Daily Hive

Vancouver General Hospital tests out plant-based food for patients  

PhD student and surgical resident Dr. Annie Lalande co-led the Planetary Health Menu project which introduced plant-based and sustainable food choices to patients in hospital.

Can an EV save you money? It depends on where you live and how much you drive  

UBC researchers explored electric vehicle costs across different provinces and territories. Stories quoted PhD student Bassam Javed, Dr. Amanda Giang and Dr. Milind Kandlikar. 

Dr. Amanda Giang is the newly appointed CRC in environmental modelling for policy

March 13, 2024 | IRES's Dr. Amanda Giang is one of five new Canada Research Chairs (CRC) joining UBC Science - we are honoured to work with Giang, and wish her a warm Congratulations.

Can you save money driving an electric vehicle? UBC researchers crunched the numbers

PhD student Bassam Javed and Dr. Amanda Giang found that in Nunavut you would have to drive 181 kilometres each day for seven years for an EV to be cheaper than a gas vehicle. In Ontario, it's 88 km and in B.C. it's 64 km. Their study has been featured in the Vancouver Sun, The Province, MSN; La Presse, Eurasia Review, CKNW Jill Bennett Show (aired live on Feb. 29), and the CJAD Elias Makos Show

Basic income could provide the breathing space so many need

Dr. Jiaying Zhao led a study which found that unhoused people are more likely to spend a lump sum of money on rent, food, housing, transit and clothes, despite public perception otherwise.

This homeless N.L. man lives on $175 a month. The federal housing monitor says it’s not enough

Dr. Jiaying Zhao is featured in CBC for her project that shows why it's a "no-brainer" for provinces to offer more money to its poorest and most vulnerable populations. It would likely curb homelessness and save taxpayer money.

Is Our Food Waste Creating a Murder of Crows?

Dan Forrest, a PhD student at IRES, is featured in the Good Men Project for his study on how food waste is affecting Vancouver’s crow population. This study can help residents and the city make better-informed decisions by revealing the hidden dynamics of the urban ecosystem they’re part of.

Removing Roadblocks for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas

Dr. Justine Townsend, a postdoctoral fellow at IRES, co-authored an article on the challenges facing First Nations advancing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, or IPCAS.

Homeless people in Vancouver were given $5,500 cash, no strings attached. They used it to secure housing and even start saving.

Media mentioned a study by psychology professor Dr. Jiaying Zhao which found that unhoused people are more likely to spend a lump sum of money on rent, food, housing, transit and clothes, despite public perception otherwise.

How to feng shui your fridge — and why it might help to curb climate change

Small actions like applying feng shui principles to your fridge can help to reduce your food waste and improve your overall well-being, says Dr. Jiaying Zhao

Canada’s Nature Agreement underscores the need for true reconciliation with Indigenous nations

Dr. Justine Townsend, a postdoctoral fellow at IRES, co-authored an article on the challenges facing First Nations advancing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, or IPCAS. The article emphasizes how Canadian governments and the conservation sector respond to the roadblocks encountered is crucial. Only by assisting these initiatives can we build meaningful and lasting IPCAs which not only restore and protect ecosystems but also advance reconciliation through Indigenous governance, laws, and knowledge systems. Image from CPPCL

Reducing the Forever Chemicals in the Food We Eat

PFAS can damage your liver, immune system, reproductive health, development, thyroid function and cancer. Dr. Gunilla Öberg discusses ways we can avoid PFAS such as filtering our tap water and why at a federal level, it is essential for Canada to have regulations to reduce exposure.

Issues to watch out for at COP 28 

UBC experts held a panel discussion on COP 28 on Nov. 21. Organizer professor Dr. Simon Donner was quoted.

Explainer | Why snake soup, the Hong Kong winter food that featured on a Pizza Hut pizza, has traditionally been eaten – and why it’s becoming harder to find

Snake soup is rich with a history in Chinese medicine, cultural, and health beliefs. “If farmed ethically and properly, I would imagine snakes take up less space, emit less greenhouse gases, and are perhaps even healthier to eat than cattle or pork, perhaps a stronger emphasis on ensuring snake meat is sourced responsibly could prolong or revitalise the tradition.” says postdoctoral researcher Dr. Félix Landry Yuan who is featured in South China Morning Post for his opinion and research regarding this topic

A UBC PROFESSOR EXPLAINS WHAT TO LOOK FOR AT COP 28 & WHY HE DOES NOT BELIEVE IN OVERSHOOT

“The point is about consumption and the best data I can point you for that was in this year’s UN Emissions Gap Report.” - Dr. Simon Donner is featured in Cortes Currents for his explanation on how we can have the population we do on the planet without consuming as much and without consuming it in the same way.

The fridge hack that can slack your food waste

Professor Dr. Jiaying Zhao discussed how to organize your fridge to reduce food waste and greenhouse gas emissions in the Washington Post via The Seattle Times Photo by Kenny Eliason via unsplash

What is 6PPD and why is it killing our coho?

A study by Dr. Timothy Rodgers and Dr. Amanda Giang which found that rain gardens could help prevent a toxic tire chemical from entering our waterways is featured by multiple media outlets.

Scientists Flag Conflicts of Interest Ahead of UN Plastic and Chemical Talks

An international group of 35 scientists, including IRES's Gunilla Öberg, is calling out conflicts of interest plaguing global plastic treaty negotiations and that have interfered with timely action on other health and environmental issues. They urge the implementation of strict guidelines to prevent the same problems from affecting the UN’s upcoming Science Policy Panel on chemicals.

Cigarette butts remain Vancouver’s most littered item — and a seemingly unsolvable waste problem

Cigarette butts are still the No. 1 most littered item in Vancouver. Education, mitigation programs over the threat of up to $10,000 in fines — have done little to this littering problem. Dr. Jiaying Zhao is featured in this CBC article to answer what can be done about this problem through social nudges.

New report on urban bats in Vancouver from grad student Daniel Forrest and alum Julia Craig

With funding from UBC's Ocean Leaders program and the City, Forrest and Craig used bats as an exemplary group to identify existing supportive ecosystems (bat “hotspots”), areas that could or currently connect those ecosystems, and interventions which might help contribute to both.

2023 on track to be the hottest year as September smashes records | CNN

Dr. Simon Donner is featured by CNN for discussing data that showed September 2023 was the hottest ever recorded. He states that it's imperative that in order to fight climate change, our world's leaders must follow the Paris Agreement and understand the realities of a 3 degree increase instead of 2 degrees.

How clouds protect coral reefs, but will not be enough to save them from us

Dr. Simon Donner co-authored an op-ed about the importance of coral reefs and the danger they face from climate change.

IRES’s Dr. Jiaying Zhao to testify in the Canadian Senate on the basic income bill Tuesday, October 17th 2023

Zhao (she/her) will serve as an expert witness supporting Bill S-233, an Act to develop a national framework for a guaranteed livable basic income.

Canadians want urgent climate action, but cost of living stands in the way 

Dr. Kai Chan is featured by Global News for his comments on people’s attitudes about climate change.

Canada’s wildfires take devastating toll on wildlife  

Dr. Matthew Mitchell is featured in France 24 and says fumes from wildfires have acute or chronic effects on the health of wildlife.