In the news

Highlights of UBC ‘s work on sustainability—environmental, social, financial—in the media

Scientists call for end to deep-sea fishing

A September Washington Post article reported on a study that says industrial fishing in the deep sea should be banned because it has depleted fish stocks that take longer to recover than other species.

Daniel Pauly, who serves as principal investigator of the Sea Around Us Project at UBC Fisheries Centre, said the costs of deep-sea fishing far outweigh the benefits. “It’s a waste of resources, it’s a waste of biodiversity, it’s a waste of

Rashid Sumaila, one of the authors of the study and the director UBC Fisheries Centre, says fishing subsidies help sustain deep-sea fishing. He said high-seas trawlers around the world receive roughly $162 million each year in government handouts, which amounts to a quarter of the value of the fleets’ catch.

Decline of big fish upsets ocean balance

A UBC study found that populations of predator fish have suffered huge declines over the past century, but that the total stock of “forage fish” has more than doubled, reported a February article in The Guardian.

“By removing the large, predatory species from the ocean, small forage fish have been left to thrive,” said Villy Christensen, lead author of he study and a professor in UBC Fisheries Centre.

Population explosion scrutinized as scientists urge politicians to act

The population of the planet could reach 9.2 billion by 2050, and The Independent wrote a July 2010 article about a group of researchers who are trying to identify the future problems we could face. The “ecological footprint” is one measure of the environmental impact of human populations. It was developed more than 15 years ago by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees, a professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC, and is a measure of the demand placed on the biosphere by human activity.

The science is in: Insite saves lives

After a lengthy court battle, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that Insite, the supervised-injection facility in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, should stay open. Throughout the court battle, UBC researchers provided expert opinion and wrote op/eds for the Washington Post, the National Post, the Canadian Press, the Toronto Star and others.

Dr. Thomas Kerr, of the Faculty of Medicine, said there have been about 1,500 overdoses at Insite but that nobody has died. “This is without a doubt a facility that saves lives.”

Dr. Julio Montaner, the director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and a professor of medicine at UBC, said that the Supreme Court decision on Insite shows that it is time to “allow evidence-based interventions to be the foundation of our response to health and social harms stemming from drug addiction.”

Olympics go carbon neutral The Vancouver Organizing

Committee asked Sauder School of Business professor James Tansey to develop a plan to offset the 2010 Winter Games’ carbon emissions. He and his team of MBA students achieved success— a 15 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, reported the Globe and Mail.

Clean fuels wasted on Delhi’s rickshaws

UBC researchers say a New Delhi program to switch its 5,000 autorickshaws with two-stroke engines to clean fuel has not significantly improved emission levels and the switch resulted in an increase in other emissions that negatively impact climate change, reported United Press International in March.

“Our study demonstrates the importance of engine type when adopting clean fuels,” said Conor Reynolds, lead author of the study and post-doctoral fellow at the Liu Institute for Global Issues.