Below are news items from the UBC IRES community.

Seeking Assistant Professor: Human Dimensions of Biodiversity Conservation

IRES and Faculty of Land and Food Systems are seeking an interdisciplinary scholar who uses econometric and other quantitative techniques to investigate human dimensions of biodiversity conservation. For example, research interests may include how individual and institutional actions affect conservation outcomes, or how biodiversity conservation affects aspects of human well-being. Anticipated start July 1, 2022.

Indonesian court rules president negligent over pollution

September 16, 2021: In a victory for the right to a healthy environment, the Central Jakarta District Court ruled that top officials have neglected citizens’ rights to clean air. IRES’s Dr. David Boyd submitted an amicus curiae brief supporting the lawsuit.

Hitting global climate target could create 8m energy jobs, study says

July 23, 2021: Sandeep Pai, a PhD candidate at IRES, was interviewed by the Guardian about his PhD thesis, which found that currently an estimated 18 million people work in the energy industries, which is likely to increase to 26 million if climate targets are met.

About 40 percent of India’s districts have some form of coal dependency

July 1, 2021: Sandeep Pai, a PhD candidate at IRES, discussed his PhD thesis, which showed that India’s transition away from coal should include comprehensive interventions that address the concerns of millions of people involved.

Lululemon founder buys Canadian islands to conserve ecosystems

June 30, 2021: In a new Guardian article, Dr. Kai Chan says while private land conservation is an important part of the solution to overdevelopment, it is not a complete solution.

‘Black swan’ heat wave brings record-breaking power demand

June 28, 2021: Dr. Milind Kandlikar gave comments about how utility providers will have to adjust to changing weather patterns.

William Cheung named director of Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

June 25, 2021: Marine biologist William Cheung, an IRES Faculty Associate and an IRES alumnus, has been appointed director of the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, effective July 1.

Salad will survive climate change. But at what cost?

June 17, 2021: Dr. Navin Ramankutty commented on the importance of finding a balance between nutritive value and widespread access. He said that even as fewer people in the world go hungry, nutrient deficiencies remain high and the best remedy is to feed people more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Canada must recognize our right to a healthy environment

June 16, 2021: In a new National Observer op-ed, Dr. David Boyd and others discussed Bill C-28, the first federal recognition that all people in Canada have the right to a healthy environment, as well as the bill's limitations.

The Human Right to a Healthy Environment: How It Can Transform Society and Achieve Reconciliation

June 8, 2021: Dr. David Boyd was interviewed on the Porcupine podcast about how the human right to a healthy environment is a game-changer for reconciliation.

Congratulations to the IRES 2021 Graduates!

Congratulations to our May Graduates! We wish you all the best in your future endeavours and can’t wait to see what amazing things you’ll go on to do. If you wish to check out the graduate theses & dissertations, please click here.

Plastics manufacturers seek to quash toxic designation in court

May 21, 2021: Dr. David Boyd gave comments to the Globe and Mail on plastics manufacturers taking the federal government to court after Ottawa designated their products as toxic.

Why Canada needs to think about accepting climate change refugees

May 21, 2021: In a new CBC article, Dr. David Boyd called on Canada to provide more development assistance in the global south to improve living conditions. takes aim at Lululemon

May 12, 2021: Dr. Kai Chan commented on a Twitter campaign that is raising awareness about Lululemon’s use of coal in its clothing manufacturing process. He said that bigger industry-wide systematic problems need to be addressed, rather than the actions of single companies.

What Denver can learn from universal basic income tests in U.S. and Canada

May 11, 2021: Denver Post mentioned a research initiative by UBC and Foundations for Social Change, where Dr. Jiaying Zhao led the research team, that found a positive impact of giving direct cash transfers to homeless individuals.

How small-scale seafood supply chains adapt to COVID-19 disruptions

April 30, 2021: Dr. Sahir Advani, a postdoctoral research fellow at IRES, co-wrote about initial pandemic impacts and responses across small-scale seafood supply chains across the world.

India’s deepening water crisis at the heart of farm protests

April 28, 2021: Balsher Singh Sidhu, PhD student at IRES, gave comments about groundwater depletion in India and said small farmers spend increasingly more money to pump water for their crops and this is widening inequity.

‘War means blood’: Can a treaty stop Latin American activists being killed?

April 19, 2021: Dr. David Boyd was quoted in Reuters saying that the “groundbreaking” treaty could be “a life-saving game changer”.

When It Comes To Climate Change, Biases Affect Everyone

When communicating about climate change, the same information that draws the attention of certain groups can fail to pique the attention of others. For Wyoming Public Media, Dr. Jiaying Zhao explains that “a fact like ‘2020 was the hottest year in history, tied with 2016’ … is going to draw the attention of liberals but […]

The ongoing search for the perfect climate change metaphor

April 16, 2021: Dr. Kai Chan told CBC that scientists need to be much more in touch with their emotions and values, and ask themselves whether their actions are consistent with that emotion.

‘Seaspiracy’: Netflix Doc Got You Down? Here’s How to Cope, and Help.

April 8, 2021: Livekindly quoted Dr. Jiaying Zhao about her research on attentional and perceptual biases of climate change. Her study suggests framing the consequences of climate change to align with a specific group’s values and cognitive processes.

Chocolate might melt out of memory if we don’t protect pollinators, ecologist warns

April 6, 2021: After Easter weekend, Dr. Claire Kremen spoke with CBC to remind us that chocolate comes from cacao, the flowers of which have to be visited by a tiny fly for pollination.

What’s that Smell? As Weather Warms, So Does a Perennial East Van Debate

March 30, 2021: Dr. Amanda Giang explains to The Tyee that smell is incredibly personal and can impact well-being. Her comments add to the perennial concerns raised by residents of Vancouver’s Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood.

New position paper outlines the importance of using psychology to combat climate change

A group of Canadian environmental psychologists including Dr. Jiaying Zhao who study climate change and human behaviour have collaborated to write a position paper for the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). The position paper draws on psychological science  to inform how Canada needs to respond to its changing climate.

The human right that benefits nature

March 16, 2021: In a new BBC article, Dr. David Boyd said that recognising the human right to a healthy environment should be thought of as catalyst for better actions rather than a cure-all.

Why community-run food hubs could be the key to better food security

March 2, 2021: Consolidation and trade deals have encouraged companies to centralize processing capacity where labour is cheap — and B.C. has lost dozens of processors in recent decades as a result, said Dr. Hannah Wittman.

New UN Environment Programme synthesis provides blueprint to urgently solve planetary emergencies

Dr. Kai Chan helped lead a new report to assess the links between multiple environmental and development challenges, and explain how advances in science and bold policymaking can open a pathway towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 while bending the curve on biodiversity loss.

One BC Community’s fight to tackle industrial pollution

March 1st, 2021: IRES’s Dr. Amanda Giang gave comments to the National Observer on the multigenerational health risks of lead contamination, currently being experienced by the city of Trail, B.C.

How Nova Scotia coastal communities are planning for climate change

Feb 10, 2021: CBC featured research from David Righter’s IRES Master’s thesis, showing that 75% of coastal communities in Nova Scotia are implementing climate change plans ordered by the province.

Dr. Jiaying Zhao on behavioural sustainability

Feb 10, 2021: In a podcast episode, Dr. Zhao discussed the necessity of putting psychology to use in sustainability; if we know how people come to their decisions, we can design policies that help them make good decisions on their own.

Farm protests highlight complex India trade outlook

Feb 5, 2021: Dr. Shashidharan Enarth commented on the complex relationship between B.C.’s Indian diaspora and its home country amidst the recent #FarmersProtest.

Spooked by COVID-19, B.C. government invests in food processing, supply chain

Feb 3, 2021: Dr. Hannah Wittman said in an interview with National Observer that free trade deals like NAFTA have consistently made it more difficult for smaller, regional food processing facilities to compete with imported foods.

Changes in Indian farm laws will ‘be good for Canada’ as well: experts

Jan 21, 2021: Dr. Shashi Enarth, an adjunct professor at IRES, gave comments to The Canadian Press about how a freer market in India would help corporations and countries that see it as a destination to sell produce.

ADAM STIRLING HOUR 3 Marginalized groups are exposed to higher cumulative air pollution

Dec 23, 2020: Dr. Amanda Giang joined the program to discuss the details of her & co-author Kaitlin Castellani’s recent study published in Environmental Research Letters.

Giving people money turns out to be an incredibly effective tool in ending homelessness

Jan 13, 2021 Fast Company highlighted the New Leaf project, a research initiative by Dr. Jiaying Zhao and Foundations for Social Change that evaluated the impact of giving direct cash transfers to homeless individuals.