IRES Seminar Series

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

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

Winter 2020/21 Term 2 Seminars will be held via Zoom. Please email Bonnie Leung (bonnie.leung@ubc.ca) for the Seminar Zoom link.

Select seminar videos are available for viewing here.

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April 15, 2021: IRES Student Symposium


The IRES Student Symposium features various RES graduate students presenting their research. Read More

April 8, 2021: IRES Faculty Seminar with Erle Ellis


Global evidence confirms that human societies have gained the capacity to transform our entire planet. Could this unprecedented capacity be redirected to shape a better future for both people and the rest of nature? This presentation explores the possibility that some of the same social processes that have transformed this planet for the worse could also transform it for the better. Read More

March 25, 2021: IRES Faculty Seminar with Gordon Christie


While Indigenous peoples across Canada engage in struggles over lands and waters, other battles rage in less visible forms.  Academics analyzing events argue about what led to this world of conflict and about how to resolve tensions. Read More

March 18, 2021: IRES Student Seminar with Madison Stevens and Rocío López de la Lama


March 18, 2021: IRES Student Seminar with Madison Stevens and Rocío López de la Lama Read More

March 11, 2021: IRES Faculty Seminar with Erika Zavaleta


The practice of conservation science includes what we choose to study towards what goals, as well as whom we choose to work with, how we influence our organizations, and how we use science to hone our teaching and to advance justice in our field. Read More

March 4, 2021: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Helina Jolly, Simon Donner, and Mark Cembrowski


More details coming soon! Read More

February 25, 2021: IRES Faculty Seminar with Andrew Baron


Implicit bias has many pernicious effects on behavior including affecting hiring and voting decisions, and even treatment recommendations by medical professionals. Moreover, research shows that this form of bias is notoriously difficult to change in adults, underscoring the need to identify its roots in development. Read More

February 18, 2021: No Seminar Due to Mid-Term Break


There will be no seminar on Thursday, February 18 due to Mid-Term Break (February 15-19). Read More

February 11, 2021: IRES Student Seminar with Joanne Nelson and Kyoko Adachi


February 11, 2021: IRES Student Seminar with Joanne Nelson and Kyoko Adachi Read More

January 28, 2021: IRES Professional Development Seminar with Zia Mehrabi


What makes a good researcher? A few months back, I led a short workshop at the Land Use and Global Environment Laboratory on this topic. One of the PhD students thought that other Masters/PhD students at IRES would benefit from me running the same workshop for the wider grad student body. So here you are. Come along to explore what makes a good researcher. Read More

January 21, 2021: IRES Faculty Seminar with Fausto Sarmiento


As archetypes of the meta-geography of the vertical dimension, mountain metaphors remain at the core of animistic belief systems, religious cults, military strategies, economic potential and scientific innovation. Dr. Sarmiento argue that transdisciplinary science and geocritical tropes, incorporating physical, human, and technical geography with humanities and arts, are the best approaches to understand the complexity of mountain systems. Read More

January 14, 2021: IRES Student Seminar with Sandeep Pai and Ian Theaker (First Seminar in Term 2)


January 14, 2021: IRES Student Seminar with Sandeep Pai and Ian Theaker (First Seminar in Term 2) Read More

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 19, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Felix Pretis


Using machine learning and econometric model selection, we construct an empirically-derived climate damage function allowing for the potential impact of climate extremes and accounting for possible adaptation pathways. The damage function can be disaggregated to a country level as a function of global mean surface temperature and is independent of any specific emission scenario 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