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PICS Lecture – Climate Change and Health Impacts

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions hosts free monthly lectures from many academic disciplines that focus on climate change. This lecture by Michael Bower from UBC and Tim Takaro from SFU focuses on the intersection of climate change and health impacts.

The World Health Organization estimates that climate change causes 150,000 deaths a year (2000). The health impacts of climate change are direct and indirect. Direct impacts include temperatures, and indirect ones include asthma, infectious diseases, malnutrition, mental health, etc.

Climate change impacts in Canada include extreme weather, air quality, the spread of infectious diseases, and increased population from migration, drought, and sea level rise. Canada will also see an uneven distribution of impacts, with some areas being less able to adapt, like rural areas ability to adapt. Luckily we have good infrastructure and public health systems so we will see … Continue Reading

Eco-Communities: Designing a Sustainable Future – Globe 2010

“Don’t build new residences, only rebuild the old”, argues Liesbeth van der Pol, Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands, who has helped revitalize the nation’s neighbourhoods. Buildings are significant consumers of energy and major contributors to global green-house gas emissions. A panel at Globe 2010 explored how “cities and communities can become more sustainable through better planning, integrated developments, and the design of resource-efficient, high performance buildings.”

Like almost all cities around the world, Amsterdam is struggling with urban sprawl; the city has the same number of residents as 1920s, but the city uses four times more space. van der Pol warns that if this trend continues, there won’t be much interconnected green spaces by 2050. The solution, van der Pol argues, is low rise, high density city buildings, saying that “Europe still has a chance to choose between … Continue Reading

Come see us present about Digital Media & Planning at UBC on Friday!

If you’re in Vancouver on Friday morning and have some time, drop by the University of British Columbia’s Graduate Student Society building and see us present about digital media & public engagement! Registration is $25 for students and you can find out more information here.

Hope to see you then!

Edited to add:
Our introductory slides for this panel are now available on Slideshare here. Panelist Karen Quinn Fung’s slides will also be made available on Slideshare in the next few days.

Marine Futures Explored With New Choice Visualization Tool

Photo courtesy of Lenfest Ocean Futures Project

How much fishing is too much, and what decisions can we make to secure the health of our marine ecosystems? The answer to these and other questions about managing our marine ecosystem have confounded policy makers for decades. A new interactive scenario exploration program being developed at the University of British Columbia just might be the tool they’re looking for.

Ocean Summits is an interactive decision making system that supports stakeholders of a specific marine ecosystem to play out scenarios that can help create consensus on key management issues. The system creates realistic-looking simulated marine ecosystems in which users must make environmental, social and economic choices about their marine environment. They can then compare the results of their new scenario … Continue Reading

Privacy for Superman

So my cell phone contract expired about a month ago now, and I thought I’d give life a shot minus the long arm of AT&T.  I purchased a Skype number, so as not to fall entirely incommunicado, but my days are largely spent without the luxury of instant telecommunication.  Overall, things have gone smoothly, but my lack of a phone has led to a series of revelations.  Most apparent is the lack of payphones in Portland, which had me walking all the way to Union Station to make a phone call (a fair walk from where I was located).  Perhaps it’s my unhealthy love of noir detective stories, but the death of the payphone is troubling to me.

Sure, wifi will soon make even cell phones irrelevant, so bemoaning the loss of the payphone is a little … Continue Reading