Stay Safe on UBC’s Vancouver campus

staysafe narrow

IMPORTANT

The University has a strong track record of having safe campuses. However, in light of recent events:

  • Don’t walk alone at night, watch out for each other.

  • Use AMS Safewalk, TransLink shuttles, or Campus Security services.

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel in danger, or witness suspicious activity, call 911 immediately.

Statscan’s cuts have forced us to see Canada through a U.S. lens

Statscan’s cuts have forced us to see Canada through a U.S. lens

Statistics Canada needs to restart its reporting of national marriage and divorce rates, argues UBC economist Marina Adshade.

Read more…

THE DANGER OF PARALYMPIC BOOSTING

Update: Krassioukov and five UBC students will study the dangerous practice of Paralympic “boosting” at the 2012 London Games while running a health clinic for athletes

by Hilary Thomson, March 4, 2010

After years of hard work, Dr. Andrei Krassioukov has finally earned admission to the Athletes Village at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games.

But Krassioukov isn’t a competitor — he’s an internationally recognized expert in spinal cord injury and leader of the only research team to be granted access to the Vancouver Athletes Village during the Games.

Krassioukov and research team members will investigate the controversial practice of “boosting.” Practiced by some individuals with spinal cord injury, boosting involves intentionally raising blood pressure to stimulate the body’s energy and endurance. Non-athletes with SCI may use boosting to feel more energetic and alert.

Paralympic athletes use boosting to win — it can improve performance by up to 15 per cent. Stressing techniques to stimulate parts of the body below the level of the spinal cord injury, and to produce a spike in blood pressure, can range from wearing pressure stockings, to compressing the testicles by sitting on a handful of ball bearings, or blocking a urinary catheter to distend the bladder.

Injury to the spinal cord disrupts control of heart and blood vessels that are normally regulated by the autonomic nervous system, part of the nervous system that provides non-voluntary control to various organs. This disruption — which varies in severity between individuals — means the body cannot properly replenish energy consumed through exercise leading to a drop in peripheral blood flow, sweating, shortness of breath and faintness . This creates significant disadvantages during competition, leading some athletes to use boosting as a drastic measure to correct functions lost through injury.

Besides creating an unfair competitive advantage, boosting is a dangerous practice. The sudden surge in blood pressure typically seen during boosting is known as autonomic dysreflexia and can lead to stroke, heart attack or death. But the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) 1994 ban on boosting has been difficult to enforce.

A physician-scientist at Vancouver Coastal Health’s GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Krassioukov has studied autonomic functioning in SCI patients for more than 30 years and has collected data from paralympic athletes headed for competition since 2006. During the last five years he has urged the IPC to go beyond the ban to address how differences in autonomic function affect elite athlete performance.

Krassioukov believes that adding autonomic functioning to the athlete classification system that currently measures only motor and sensory functioning will more evenly match competitors and reduce motivation to boost.

“Being allowed to conduct research in the Athletes’ Village is an exciting milestone for me,” says Krassioukov, an associate professor in UBC’s Dept. of Medicine and co-director of the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), part of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI). “It suggests the IPC will consider how differences in autonomic function create inequities in performance and fuel the risky practice of boosting.”

Autonomic functioning varies between individuals according to the level and severity of their SCI. Currently, athletes with higher-level injury and significant autonomic function impairment compete directly with individuals with lesser impairment. Athletes have used boosting to close the gap.

During the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, expected to draw 650 athletes from more than 40 countries, he plans to test 50 curling and sledge hockey athletes with spinal cord injury in a Cardiovascular Health Education Clinic in the Village and at ICORD. Volunteers will participate in a 90-minute assessment of autonomic functioning, complete a questionnaire and receive educational brochures about autonomic dysreflexia and risks of boosting.

Krassioukov expects it will be at least four years before his team will provide the IPC with possible guidelines on testing of autonomic functioning in paralympic athletes. Additional data from other paralympic sports must be collected and analyzed and recommendations developed and tested. He hopes research advances will ultimately eliminate the need for boosting but accepts that individuals with SCI are always looking for ways to improve their functioning.

“I am amazed by my patients’ incredible tenacity to achieve what they want to do in life — how they not only survive but fully engage in their adventure with a new body.”

Krassioukov’s work is supported by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada; the Disability Health Research Network; the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation; and the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Tap and rope guide blind swimmer to victory

UPDATE:

Aug. 14, 2012 – Donovan Tildesley will compete in his fourth Paralympic Games in London (Aug. 29-Sept. 9).

Sep. 11, 2008 – Donovan Tildesley won bronze in 400-metre S11 swimming in Beijing.

Sep. 4, 2008 – Donovan Tildesley has been named Canada’s flag bearer for the Beijing Paralympics. Tildesley will lead Team Canada’s 143 athletes into the Opening Ceremony.

By Brian Lin, July 3, 2008 

At age 24, new UBC grad Donovan Tildesley has broken two world records, won a dozen gold medals in international swim meets and is part of Team Canada for the third time in the Paralympic Games in Beijing this summer.

The Vancouver native is also a motivational speaker and part owner of a small radio station in Whistler, B.C.

Tildesley, who was born blind, won a bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and two silver and one more bronze medal in Athens in 2004. He’s currently the No. 2-ranked swimmer with a disability in the world in the 400-metre freestyle.

“Competing in the Paralympics was one of the most amazing experiences in my life,” says Tildesley, who began racing at age nine with the help of his father and coach Hugh, a former competitive swimmer.

Hugh is also Donovan’s “tapper,” charged with the vital task of tapping his son on the head with a pole when he’s one stroke away from the wall.

“The questions I get asked most is how do I avoid swimming into the wall, and how I swim in a straight line,” explains Tildesley.

Using the lane rope as a guide, Tildesley must keep his arms straight and centred as to keep on course. “As I get tired, keeping my arms symmetrical becomes more difficult, but that’s part of the sport.”

Since graduating from UBC this spring with an English degree, Tildesley has been busy speaking at schools and community events on behalf of the RBC Olympians Program. “I love it as much as competing in the pool,” says Tildesley. “It’s a chance to step outside myself and tell my story. “If I can enrich, inspire or help change someone’s life, that makes me happy.”

Another thing that makes Tildesley happy involves skis and may not be everybody’s cup of tea. “There’s nothing more thrilling than being on top of Spanky’s Ladder on Blackcomb and making the 500 vertical feet drop.”

Now imagine doing that with your eyes closed.

Recap: Looking back at UBC and the 2012 Olympics

By CJ Pentland and Henry Lebard, The Ubyssey

Bronze medals, swim-offs, meeting royalty: the 2012 Summer Olympics featured much excitement for past and current UBC students.

Unsurprisingly, the swimmers had the most success in London. Led by Brent Hayden’s bronze medal in the 100m freestyle, several other T-Birds put forth strong efforts.

Alumnus Scott Dickens started the competition strong as he became the first Canadian to swim the 100m breaststroke in less than a minute, coming in at 59.85s. He made the semi-final in that event, along with the semi-final of the 200m breaststroke and the final of the 4x100m medley relay team, which also featured Hayden.

The reigning CIS male swimmer of the year, Tommy Gossland, swam in the 4x100m freestyle relay heats along with Hayden, but their time didn’t qualify them for the final.

As for the women, Martha McCabe led the way by finishing fifth overall in the 200m breaststroke after positing a time of 2:23.16 in the final. Tera van Beilen recorded a time of 1:07.48 in the 100m breaststroke semi-finals, which put her in a tie for eighth and forced a swim-off. However, she lost the two-person race and failed to make the finals.

CIS female swimmer of the year Savannah King raced in both the 400m and 800m freestyles, recording a personal best in the 800m. Heather MacLean swam in both the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays, with her 4x200m team finishing fourth overall.

Back on land, a few former Thunderbirds put up good results in track and field events. Inaki Gomez finished 13th in the 20km race walk with a time of 1:20:58, setting a personal best and breaking the Canadian record time in that event.

Liz Gleadle finished 12th overall in women’s javelin, the highest-ever finish by a Canadian in that event. Curtis Moss competed in men’s javelin, but finished 22nd in qualifying and failed to make the finals.

To round out the field events, high jumper Mike Mason came eighth in men’s high jump with a best jump of 2.29m.

There were also a few alumni competing on the outdoor water. In her third Olympics, Nikola Girke finished tenth in women’s RS:X Sailing. Mike Leigh and Luke Ramsay competed in the men’s sailing 470 class, ending up in the 25th spot. And Ricardo Montemayor, who was competing for Mexico, raced in the men’s sailing Laser Class and finished 38th.

In cycling, UBC had one representative. Denise Ramsden raced in both the women’s road race and time trials, finishing 27th and 19th, respectively.

As for the indoor events, badminton player Toby Ng met the Prince of Wales before the Games started, but he and his mixed doubles partner dropped all three of their matches in the group play stage.

The Olympics are now over, but there is still one more UBC athlete left to compete. Paralympic swimmer Donavan Tildesley will be swimming in four events in London once the Paralympic Games kick off on August 29.

This article was originally published by UBC’s student newspaper, the Ubysseyon Aug. 12.

Meet UBC’s 19 Olympians and Paralympians here

Hot topics in the news

UBC experts on pipeline debates

  • Environmental issues
  • Business and trade
  • Aboriginal communities
  • Law and policy

UBC welcomes Paralympics torch

On March 11, 2010 UBC will become one of only 13 community stops on the Paralympic Torch Relay.  Just one day before the 2010 Paralympic Games begin in Vancouver, the Paralympic Torch will zig zag through UBC Point Grey campus, kick-starting the Paralympic experience.

Read more: http://www.webcommunications.ubc.ca/ubc2010/whats-on/paralympic-torch-relay/

The danger of Paralympic boosting

After years of hard work, Dr. Andrei Krassioukov has finally earned admission to the Athletes Village at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games.

But Krassioukov isn’t a competitor — he’s an internationally recognized expert in spinal cord injury (SCI) and leader of the only research team to be granted access to the Vancouver Athletes Village during the Games.

Krassioukov and research team members will investigate the controversial practice of “boosting.” Practiced by some individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI), boosting involves intentionally raising blood pressure to stimulate the body’s energy and endurance. Non-athletes with SCI may use boosting to feel more energetic and alert. Paralympic athletes use boosting to win — it can improve performance by up to 15 per cent. Stressing techniques to stimulate parts of the body below the level of the spinal cord injury, and to produce a spike in blood pressure, can range from wearing pressure stockings, to compressing the testicles by sitting on a handful of ball bearings, or blocking a urinary catheter to distend the bladder.

Injury to the spinal cord disrupts control of heart and blood vessels that are normally regulated by the autonomic nervous system, part of the nervous system that provides non-voluntary control to various organs. This disruption — which varies in severity between individuals — means the body cannot properly replenish energy consumed through exercise leading to a drop in peripheral blood flow, sweating, shortness of breath and faintness . This creates significant disadvantages during competition, leading some athletes to use boosting as a drastic measure to correct functions lost through injury.

Besides creating an unfair competitive advantage, boosting is a dangerous practice. The sudden surge in blood pressure typically seen during boosting is known as autonomic dysreflexia and can lead to stroke, heart attack or death. But the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) 1994 ban on boosting has been difficult to enforce.

A physician-scientist at Vancouver Coastal Health’s GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Krassioukov has studied autonomic functioning in SCI patients for more than 30 years and has collected data from paralympic athletes headed for competition since 2006. During the last five years he has urged the IPC to go beyond the ban to address how differences in autonomic function affect elite athlete performance.

Krassioukov believes that adding autonomic functioning to the athlete classification system that currently measures only motor and sensory functioning will more evenly match competitors and reduce motivation to boost.

“Being allowed to conduct research in the Athletes’ Village is an exciting milestone for me,” says Krassioukov, an associate professor in UBC’s Dept. of Medicine and co-director of the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), part of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI). “It suggests the IPC will consider how differences in autonomic function create inequities in performance and fuel the risky practice of boosting.”

Autonomic functioning varies between individuals according to the level and severity of their SCI. Currently, athletes with higher-level injury and significant autonomic function impairment compete directly with individuals with lesser impairment. Athletes have used boosting to close the gap.

During the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, expected to draw 650 athletes from more than 40 countries, he plans to test 50 curling and sledge hockey athletes with spinal cord injury in a Cardiovascular Health Education Clinic in the Village and at ICORD. Volunteers will participate in a 90-minute assessment of autonomic functioning, complete a questionnaire and receive educational brochures about autonomic dysreflexia and risks of boosting.

Krassioukov expects it will be at least four years before his team will provide the IPC with possible guidelines on testing of autonomic functioning in paralympic athletes. Additional data from other paralympic sports must be collected and analyzed and recommendations developed and tested. He hopes research advances will ultimately eliminate the need for boosting but accepts that individuals with SCI are always looking for ways to improve their functioning.

“I am amazed by my patients’ incredible tenacity to achieve what they want to do in life — how they not only survive but fully engage in their adventure with a new body.”

Krassioukov’s work is supported by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada; the Disability Health Research Network; the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation; and the Rick Hansen Foundation.

VCHRI is the research body of Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, which includes BC’s largest academic and teaching health sciences centres: VGH, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. In academic partnership with the University of British Columbia, VCHRI brings innovation and discovery to patient care, advancing healthier lives in healthy communities across British Columbia, Canada, and beyond. www.vchri.ca.

UBC’s sustainable sports centre

As a Paralympic competition venue, the UBC Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre will host 20 Paralympic sledge hockey games. The complex was built in the 1960s and is a fitting venue, considering its rich history. Canada’s National Hockey Program was born at the arena in 1963, in preparation for the Innsbruck 1964 Olympic Winter games in Austria.

The arena was redeveloped from 2006 to 2008 to rejuvenate and expand the facility in time for the Olympics, and to reflect the shared environmental, social and economic sustainability goals. Instead of demolishing the whole building, UBC and VANOC kept one ice rink that was still in good shape and upgraded its outdated mechanical and electrical systems.

The new centre has a highly-efficient floor plan inside, and the building site takes advantage of existing road and pedestrian networks and is situated close to public transportation. The centre’s designers used the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building rating system as a framework to address sustainability across all environmental performance categories. The facility achieved a LEED Silver performance standard, meeting VANOC’s progressive requirements for sustainability.

In addition to hockey and ice skating programs, the centre accommodates more than 40,000 users monthly through public programs, leagues, special events, concerts and fitness-related programs, to make the most of the facility.

Sports facilities require a significant amount of energy to operate, especially ice rinks and pools. UBC and VANOC found ways to convert the centre into a world-class winter sports facility and meet the building’s ice maintenance, ventilation, de-humidification and lighting needs in sustainable ways.

“Typically those are challenges, but we took them as positives, because we felt there was a lot of opportunity to improve the standards and also be leaders in the development of some of these facilities,” says Kavie Toor, Associate Director of Facilities and Business Development for UBC Athletics and Recreation.

One of the highlights of the redeveloped arena is the ECO CHILL® energy system. This new technology recycles all the energy used to maintain the ice surface back into the arena’s heating system, making use of waste energy that would normally be flushed out of the building.

The arena also uses electric ice resurfacers, which keep energy use to a minimum and don’t impact air quality. Often referred to as a Zamboni®, an ice resurfacer is typically fuelled by propane. “Not only is there energy wasted when they’re running sometimes three times an hour if you’re running multiple rinks, but there’s also a considerable amount of emissions that go into the playing area and into the stands,” Toor says.

To remove moist air from the building and dressing rooms, the arena uses an efficient de-humidifying system that runs about eight to 10 hours a day, compared to the centre’s old system that ran 24 hours a day. The building also uses energy-efficient lighting with sensors and control systems that turn lights off when a space is unoccupied.

Games inspire new research centre for sport

The interplay of sport and sustainability is being put under the microscope at the University of British Columbia, where a new, one-of-a-kind research centre is analyzing the opportunities and effects created by sport and mega sporting events.

The UBC Centre for Sports and Sustainability tackles questions about the environmental impacts of Olympic Games, society’s perception of Paralympic athletes and how to give youth opportunities to learn through sport, among other topics.

“There’s a growing need to better understand how sport transforms people, communities and cultures to deliver lasting economic, social and health benefits,” says UBC President Stephen Toope.

“As a UBC legacy project from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the centre will fill an important niche as an international hub for knowledge on this very specialized area of research.”

The centre already exists — virtually. Through a joint project between UBC and the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), the university is formalizing an existing network of researchers who are engaged in sport and sustainability research and instruction.

Researchers are considering how a large-scale sport event or infrastructure project can spur innovation in urban design, and what factors influence national pride, social cohesion and the inclusion in sport of groups such as new immigrants, indigenous populations and the economically disadvantaged.

“This is about more than sport itself,” says Robert Sparks, director of the UBC School of Human Kinetics. “This is sport as it links to economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social development in communities.”

“How do you ‘green’ sports facilities and how do you use sport programs to foster community development and healthy lifestyles?”

Part of the centre’s mandate will be to ensure this new knowledge is made available to local, national and international event organizers and host cities so they might optimize their planning and provide an enduring legacy. Already underway is the Paralympic Games Impact Survey, which looks at how the Paralympic Games impact the social perceptions of persons with a disability. A post-Paralympic Games survey will study changes in these perceptions.

”The overall idea is to look at how society might change its views of people with disabilities upon watching the quality performances of Paralympic athletes,” says Rob VanWynsberghe, lecturer in Human Kinetics and Educational Studies and UBC lead for the project.

Researchers are also looking around the country to find programs that teach others how to coach athletes with a disability, Vanwynsberghe says. “We suspect that many Paralympic coaches are experts in a sport for athletes without disabilities. They’ll draw on these skills to teach Paralympic athletes, but the cross-over isn’t easy; sledge hockey and hockey, for example, are two very different things,” he says.

“We want to make sure there are enough programs in place to train coaches and athletes for the Paralympics, and from a research perspective, consider the social perceptions that follow.” This is baseline work for the Olympic Games Impact study, which is also being conducted at UBC and led by VanWynsberghe. The massive study was developed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to introduce a standardized cross-Games method of monitoring, measuring and reporting on the economic, social and environmental impact of hosting the Olympic Games.

UBC and VANOC will also present a three-part think-tank series to analyze lessons learned from the 2010 Games, new precedents for large scale sport event sustainability, and the use of sustainability indicators in planning future Olympic bids.

“We want to capitalize on our research with the Olympics and Paralympics to become a knowledge hub capable of helping groups down the road who want to take on similar projects,” Sparks says.

Another project under the centre’s umbrella — the nascent Coaching Sustainability Initiative —has a local connection in Vancouver. By creating community service learning placements in the Downtown Eastside, this UBC legacy project supports leadership development and physical activity among secondary school students in Vancouver.

For more information, visit
ubc.ca/2010

UBC experts on Pope Francis’ forthcoming visit to Canada for Indigenous reconciliation

Pope Francis has agreed to visit Canada to support reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples. UBC experts are available to comment.

Prof. Linc Kesler (he/him)
Associate Professor, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies & English
Email: linc.kesler@ubc.ca
Language(s): English

  • Indigenous identity, residential schools, Indigenous rights, Indigenous studies

Dr. Tricia Logan (she/her)
Assistant Professor, School of Information
Email: tricia.logan@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Residential schools, Métis history, colonialism, truth and reconciliation, histories of Indigenous Peoples, museum studies

UBC In The News

UBC In The News

UBC researchers are helping communities prepare for the effects of climate change

The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) takes place next week and one of its four goals is to help countries adapt to climate change in order to protect communities and natural habitats.

From creating disaster preparedness apps to training local climate champions, UBC researchers are already working with communities to help them prepare for the effects of climate change.

App-daptation for disasters and hazards

Planning for a disaster can be scary, but UBC researchers are making it easier with a new app tailored to individual households.

Dr. Ryan Reynolds, a postdoctoral researcher in the faculty of applied science’s school of community and regional planning, found residents in Port Alberni were confused as to which households were at risk and where to find information following a tsunami warning and evacuation in 2018.

Hoping to address this gap, his team has created the Canadian Hazards Emergency Response and Preparedness Mobile App (CHERP) app, which will be piloted in seven communities on Vancouver Island starting next month. “I know from speaking with people post-disaster that anything we can do to reduce that confusion goes a long way to building trust in emergency responses.”

The app helps residents create preparedness, communication, evacuation and on-the-day emergency response plans for local hazards and potential disasters such as sea level rise or coastal flooding. Not sure if your household is in the inundation zone for a tsunami warning? The app will tell you based on your location.

A thorough list of inputs helps individualize plans for each household, including whether someone menstruates, has anxiety, accessibility issues, is part of the LGBTQ+ community, signs, is a refugee or in Canada on a temporary visa. And pets aren’t forgotten: users can input the number of animals in their household.

Preparing for emergencies is like insurance, says Dr. Reynolds. “You do a little bit of work now and hopefully reap the benefits down the road. We know things like sea level rise, coastal flooding, tsunamis, are going to happen and we can put steps in place to prepare.”

 

 

CHERP Community Information

Credit: CHERP research team

 

 

CHERP Household info

Credit: CHERP research team

 

 

CHERP Coastal Flooding

Credit: CHERP research team

 

Wine, cheese and climate change

Tackling climate change over wine and cheese with your neighbours sounds too good to be true. But Dr. Stephen Sheppard, a professor emeritus in the department of forest resources management in the faculty of forestry, says local climate change action should be fun. “If you can get people to do things together, you get safer, more resilient neighbourhoods but also stronger communities. You could go to the pub, have some fun with it – it’s got to be fun, or no one will do it.”

Over the next 12 months, his team will train local residents for Cool ‘Hood Champs, a free program hosted by four Vancouver community centres. In a series of three workshops, participants learn to identify local climate targets, impacts and solutions, and craft their own climate action plans with practical actions, ranging from installing a shade structure or a vegetable garden to watering neighbourhood trees during a drought.

This year’s program is an extension of a pilot from last year, where 29 participants completed all the workshops, and 70 per cent chose to take home trees to plant in their yards. Local action is vital, says Dr. Sheppard, because individual behavioural decisions affect whether governments achieve emissions targets, and practical solutions can help people feel better. “What can you do about climate change? You can ignore it, worry about it, or do something about it, using positive processes you can control.’

Dr. Sheppard and his team are also piloting a three-year program with Oak Bay council, where citizen workshops will be hosted through community hubs including schools, churches, and volunteer programs, with funding and staff support. “The pilot will show with backing and funding, citizens themselves can run workshops, take local action and involve others, sustainably.”

UBC researchers are helping communities prepare for the effects of climate change (COP26 story)

CBC science host and meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe (forefront) watches workshop participants 11-year-old Jamie Auclair-Troughton and Holly Bradbury measure the circumference of a tree trunk on a Vancouver street during a Cool ‘Hood Champs program workshop recently held in Vancouver.

Adaptation, not maladaptation

However, climate adaptation interventions are not automatically positive, says Dr. Sameer Shah (he/him), a sessional lecturer at the UBC Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) in the faculty of science. When applied without consideration of the social context, they can deepen inequities.

In a study published in June, Dr. Shah and colleagues looked into the Government of Maharashtra’s campaign in India to make 25,000 villages drought-free by 2019, a campaign that cost nearly US$1.3 billion.

The team interviewed households in three villages, as well as government officials and key informants, and found that government interests had led to a narrow focus on certain types of water conservation interventions. These benefited a particular group of people, generally those who were already well-off, and often excluded those who didn’t have enough land or money to invest in water-related adaptations, or were located further away from waterbodies, including members of historically disadvantaged groups.

According to a 2020 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the campaign had little impact in achieving water neutrality and increasing groundwater level.  Here, technical solutions are not enough, says Dr. Shah, and interventions need to incorporate the social context in which they occur. “As researchers, we can’t just say ‘this is the science’ for an intervention, and then hang up our hats. We need to be focused on issues of governance and distribution.”

Getting the global community involved

When it comes to climate action on mitigation and adaptation, we need everyone involved, says Dr. Jiaying Zhao, Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Sustainability and associate professor at IRES and the department of psychology in the faculty of arts.

She and her colleagues have posited a set of interventions to target different subsets of the entire population to make sure no one is left behind.

Two of these five groups, the “late majority” and the “laggards”, make up 50 per cent of the population and are often overlooked by behaviour change interventions, the authors say.

The “late majority” are characterized as adopting climate actions to fit in with others. Interventions include using social norms, peer pressure, and peer influence to encourage climate action. The “laggards”, or those most reluctant to act, need peer role models to deliver messages and to endorse climate action, says Dr. Zhao. “You need to use the right messenger to deliver the right message.”

Policy makers and researchers should acknowledge these different groups of people and their distinct motivations for climate action, and tailor interventions to each group, she says. “We should get everyone onboard, not just the keeners, as soon as possible.”

Interview language(s): English (Sheppard, Reynolds, Shah, Zhao), Mandarin (Zhao)

UBC experts on the new federal cabinet

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil his new cabinet on Tuesday. UBC experts are available to comment.

Dr. Gerald Baier
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Email: gerald.baier@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Canadian politics, federalism

Dr. Allan Tupper
Professor, Department of Political Science
Email: allan.tupper@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Canadian politics, Western Canadian politics, political parties in Canada, government ethics

UBC In The News

UBC In The News

UBC In The News

Spending time in nature promotes early childhood development

Want to ensure your child hits their expected developmental milestones? New UBC research suggests living in areas with high exposure to greenspace can help set them up for success.

For the study, researchers at the UBC faculty of forestry and faculty of medicine analyzed the developmental scores of 27,372 children in Metro Vancouver who attended kindergarten between 2005 and 2011. They estimated the amount of greenspace around each child’s residence from birth to age five. They also assessed levels of traffic-related air pollution and community noise.

The results highlight the fundamental importance of natural green spaces like street trees, parks and community gardens, authors say.

Ingrid Jarvis

Ingrid Jarvis

“Most of the children were doing well in their development, in terms of language skills, cognitive capacity, socialization and other outcomes,” says study author Ingrid Jarvis (she/her), a PhD candidate in the department of forest and conservation sciences at UBC. “But what’s interesting is that those children living in a residential location with more vegetation and richer natural environments showed better overall development than their peers with less greenspace.”

According to the researchers, the reason for this is partly greenspaces’ ability to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution and noise—environmental challenges that have been shown to adversely affect children’s health and development through increased stress, sleep disturbances and central nervous system damage.

“Few studies have investigated this pathway linking greenspace and developmental outcomes among children, and we believe this is the first Canadian study to do so,” adds Jarvis.

The researchers assessed early childhood development using the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a survey completed by kindergarten teachers for each child. The tool measures a child’s ability to meet age-appropriate developmental expectations.

“More research is needed, but our findings suggest that urban planning efforts to increase greenspace in residential neighbourhoods and around schools are beneficial for early childhood development, with potential health benefits throughout life,” says the study’s senior author and UBC research associate, Matilda van den Bosch (she/her).

“Time in nature can benefit everyone, but if we want our children to have a good head start, it’s important to provide an enriching environment through nature contact. Access to greenspace from a very young age can help ensure good social, emotional and mental development among children.”

The study, published recently in The Lancet Planetary Health, includes contributions by researchers at the University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, Barcelona Institute for Global Health, BC Children’s Hospital and BC Centre for Disease Control.

Interview languages: English (Jarvis and van den Bosch)

Disclaimer: This work was supported by data made accessible via Population Data BC, the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium, and the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio at the University of British Columbia. All inferences, opinions, and conclusions drawn in this study are those of the authors, and do not reflect the opinions or policies of the Data Steward(s).

UBC climate experts and COP26 delegates

The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate change conference is taking place from October 31 to November 12. UBC conference delegates as well as UBC climate, environment and sustainability experts are available to comment. 

UBC COP26 delegation

Juan Jose Alava (he/him)
Research associate, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries Faculty of Science
Email: j.alava@oceans.ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English and Spanish

  • Climate change and ocean pollution (foodweb bioaccumulation of pollutants exacerbated by climate change) with risk implications and equity considerations on coastal communities.

Eman Alsulaiti (إيمان السليطي) (she/her)
Undergraduate student, Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies
Email: eeman@student.ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish

  • Sustainable development goal 4
  • European Green Deal, Qatar, youth empowerment, sustainability

Max Cohen (he/him)
PhD candidate, Department of Geography
Tel: 778-887-7362
Email: max.cohen.ubc@gmail.com
Interview language(s): English

  • Just transition, climate policy, and Glasgow

Dr. Robert Godin (he/him)
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Email: robert.godin@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English, French

  • Energy, in particular, solar energy
  • Carbon dioxide utilization, sustainability and water purification

Prof. Kathryn Harrison (she/her)
Professor, Department of Political Science
Tel: 778-968-4923
Email: kathryn.harrison@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Climate and energy, climate change
  • Environmental politics, environmental policy

Dr. Walter Mérida (he/him)
Senior Faculty Advisor to the President and Vice-Chancellor,
Associate Dean, Research and Industry Partnerships, Faculty of Applied Science,
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Tel: 604-822-4189
Email: walter.merida@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English, Spanish, Italian

  • UBC sustainability research and initiatives
  • Clean energy opportunities for B.C.
  • Sustainable energy systems, low carbon fuels, hydrogen and clean energy

Temitope Onifade (he/him)
PhD candidate, Peter A. Allard School of Law
Email: temitope@onifade.org
Interview language(s): English, Yoruba, English-based pidgin

  • Climate policy and justice under the Paris Agreement
  • Canada’s climate governance framework

Dr. U. Rashid Sumaila (he/him)
University Killam Professor, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, and School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
Tel: 604-351-7406
Email: r.sumaila@oceans.ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English, Hausa, Norwegian

  • Blue economy, sustainable and just ocean systems, fisheries economics
  • Marine biodiversity, ocean conservation

Juvarya Veltkamp (she/her)
Director, Canada Climate Law Initiative
Email: veltkamp@allard.ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English, Urdu, Hindi

  • Climate change, climate risk, green economy, net zero transition
  • Sustainable cities, green buildings, economic development, climate governance/law

Climate/environment

Prof. Werner Antweiler
Associate Professor, Sauder School of Business
Tel: 604-822-8484
Email: werner.antweiler@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Environmental and energy topics, particularly the integration of renewable energy sources into our electricity grid and the electrification of mobility 

Dr. Peter Arcese
Professor, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
Tel: 778-350-9295
Email: peter.arcese@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Uses advanced computer planning tools and global citizen science and spatial data to design conservation plans capable of enhancing restoring biodiversity, sequestering atmospheric carbon, and enhancing local livelihoods

Dr. Kai Chan (he/him)
Professor, Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability
Canada Research Chair in Rewilding and Social-Ecological Transformation
Email: kaichan@ires.ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Social and economic transitions and transformations
  • Relationships between climate change, water, food, biodiversity

Dr. William Cheung
Professor, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
Canada Research Chair in Ocean Sustainability and Global Change
Email: w.cheung@oceans.ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Biodiversity
  • Impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems and dependent human communities
  • Climate solutions for the ocean and fisheries

Dr. Simon Donner
Professor, Department of Geography
Email: simon.donner@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Climate change science and policy
  • International climate finance
  • Emissions targets

* Unavailable Oct 22-23

Dr. Johan Foster
Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
NSERC Canfor Industrial Research Chair in Advanced Bioproducts
Tel: 604-817-8882
Email: johan.foster@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Renewable plastics, biodegradable plastics
  • Carbon neutral and carbon-negative materials

Dr. John S. Richardson
Professor, Department of Forest & Conservation Sciences
Email: john.richardson@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Water and biodiversity

Dr. Stephen Sheppard  (he/him)
Professor, Department of Forest Resources Management
Tel: 778-997-7292
Email: stephen.sheppard@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Climate change planning and engagement; visualization; urban forestry, nature-based solutions and renewable energy; mitigation and adaptation

* Unavailable Oct. 22 in the morning and Oct. 28-29

Dr. Sean Smukler
Associate Professor and Chair, Agriculture and the Environment
Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Tel: 604-822-2795
Email: sean.smukler@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Monitoring and protecting agricultural land
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Quantifying soil carbon

Dr. Terry Sunderland
Professor, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
Tel: 778-871-6483
Email: terry.sunderland@ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • Coordinating the Global Landscapes Forum at COP, November 5-7
  • Sustainable development, forests, food security, landscape approaches, livelihoods, biodiversity

Dr. Philippe Tortell (he/him)
Professor, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Email: ptortell@eoas.ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English

  • How the Earth’s environment has changed due to human impact in the past 50 years
  • Greenhouse gases

Dr. Jiaying Zhao (she/her)
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Sustainability
Tel: 609-865-4765
Email: jiayingz@psych.ubc.ca
Interview language(s): English, Chinese

Latest updates

  • Statscan’s cuts have forced us to see Canada through a U.S. lens
  • THE DANGER OF PARALYMPIC BOOSTING
  • Tap and rope guide blind swimmer to victory
  • Recap: Looking back at UBC and the 2012 Olympics
  • Hot topics in the news
  • UBC welcomes Paralympics torch
  • The danger of Paralympic boosting
  • UBC’s sustainable sports centre
  • Games inspire new research centre for sport
  • UBC experts on Pope Francis’ forthcoming visit to Canada for Indigenous reconciliation
  • UBC In The News
  • UBC In The News
  • UBC researchers are helping communities prepare for the effects of climate change
  • UBC experts on the new federal cabinet
  • UBC In The News
  • UBC In The News
  • UBC In The News
  • Spending time in nature promotes early childhood development
  • UBC climate experts and COP26 delegates
  • Important phone numbers

    • Emergency 9-1-1
    • UBC RCMP 604.224.1322
    • Tips 778.290.5291 or 1.877.543.4822
    • UBC Campus Security 604.822.2222
    • AMS Safewalk 604.822.5355
    • Stay tuned @ubcnews
    • Urgent building safety problems, broken lights 604.822.2173
    • RezWalk check for phone number on posters in your residence

    Support Services

    Recent assaults and UBC response

    Safety measures you can take

    Downloadable safety poster for campus buildings (pdf)

    Related community organized events