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UBC Reports Apr 6, 2006

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VOLUME  52   I  NUMBER  4   I  APRIL  6,2006
With hundreds of UBC students, faculty researchers, staff and
alumni engaged in issues surrounding sustainability, more than 300
academic courses directly related to the subject, and a Trek 2010
strategic plan commitment, UBC Reports has decided to focus an
entire issue on sustainability.
Look inside for a number of articles by our international experts on
the global challenges in air, water, food and energy systems. At the
same time, read how your UBC community is acting locally to make
a difference.
Footprints to Sustainability
BY WILLIAM E. REES   Professor, School of Community and Regional Planning
Almost everyone knows Pogo Possum's
famous utterance from Earth Day, 1970. On
contemplating the desecration of his beloved
Okefenokee Swamp, Walt Kelly's memorable
cartoon-strip character sadly observed: "We
have met the enemy and he is us."
Well, 36 years later, the rest of us are just
catching up with Pogo in appreciating the
meaning of ecological degradation. It is finally
penetrating our consciousness that climate
change, tropical deforestation, desertification,
the ozone hole, fisheries collapses — the whole
litany of so-called environmental problems —
aren't really "environmental" problems at all.
They are actually the raw symptoms of human
ecological dysfunction. We have indeed met the
enemy and he is us.
One way of determining how great an
enemy we are, is through ecological footprint
analysis (EFA). I began developing this method
over two decades ago after finding myself
embroiled in a debate with an economist
colleague over the relevance of ecological
carrying capacity to humans. He argued the
conventional wisdom of the day, that the
combination of trade and human technological
ingenuity enables modern humans to squeeze
so much out of the earth that the term "human
carrying capacity" is now meaningless.
Lawrence Summers, then Chief Economist
of World Bank, put it this way in 1991: "There
are no... limits to the carrying capacity ofthe
earth that are likely to bind any time in the
foreseeable future. There isn't a risk of an
apocalypse due to global warming or anything
else. The idea that we should put limits on
growth because of some natural limit,
is a profound error and one that, were it ever
to prove influential, would have staggering
social costs."
Back then, such assertions were made with
intimidating assurance and conviction, but to
my ecologist's ears something was missing
from the implied cornucopian vision. In part,
the problem lay with the standard definition
of carrying capacity. To ecologists and game
managers, carrying capacity is the maximum
population of a given species that can occupy
a particular habitat without impairing its
long-term productivity. However, if humans
are the species, and trade and technology
augment local productivity, well... maybe the
economists have a point.
But what happens if we invert the carrying
capacity ratio? Rather than asking what
population a given area can support, let's ask
how much area is needed to support a given
population, wherever the area is or however
technologically sophisticated the population.
This shift in perspective merely acknowledges
that trade and technology don't actually
decouple economies from nature, they merely
shuffle resources around and increase the
intensity of resource exploitation. It thus
re-establishes humans' direct connection to
the land and puts global carrying capacity
firmly back on the sustainability agenda.
continued on page 10
Prof. Rees is well-known for inventing the "ecological footprint analysis,'
tool that estimates humanity's ecological impact.
a quantitative
UBC a Test Site on Hydrogen Highway
$10-million proposal would see hydrogen run campus vehicles, cell phones
It can power a massive submarine
or a 10-speed bike light, and the
power source can be derived from
pig manure.
This versatile device is a hydrogen
fuel cell, powered by the most abundant element on earth and key to
technologies that UBC plans to
demonstrate as part of the BC
Hydrogen Highway™ project.
The university is an integral part
of the BC Hydrogen Highway™, a
co-ordinated, large- scale demon
stration program, created to
accelerate the commercialization of
hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
The National Research Council's
(NRC) Institute for Fuel Cell
Innovation at UBC Vancouver's
south campus is also a member.
Announced by the Federal
Government in 2004, the program's
network of test sites, or highway,
includes Victoria, Surrey, North
Vancouver, and Vancouver Airport
to Whistier, with full implementation
in time for the 2010 Winter
Olympics. A consortium of organizations have come together to
design, build, test and evaluate
hydrogen fuel cell applications that
include transportation, stationary,
portable and micropower uses of
the technology.
UBC's Campus Sustainability
Office (CSO) has proposed a
$ 10-million suite of projects —
approved in principal by Industry
continued on page /
Jorge Marques displays one of the hydrogen fuels cells to be demonstrated
in a campus sustainable energy technology showcase. REPORTS       |      APRI
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UBC Launches Podcast Service
Subscribe to UBC's newest digital service
to receive the latest UBC Talk of the Town
lectures, Global Citizenship speaker scries
and a growing list of digital UBC content
via your iPod or MP3 player.
APRIL ^(Tnifi,^
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5 I 5 West Hastings St. Vancouver, BC
For conference info: www.bc.net
Featured Key Note: Tony Hey, Vice President of Technical Computing, Microsoft
Learn from over 80 speakers. Tracks for Researchers, Educators, Faculty & IT.
Teaching & learning technologies
University CIO panel
Collaboration technologies on campus
Research VP panel discussion
High-performance computing
New technology showcase
Tools for researchers
Advanced networking technology tracks
Identity management, disaster recovery
Register online
For more conference information, visit our web site at — WWW.bc.net   ^
I The Advanced Research Networks Conference 2006 — Converging Minds: Tools for Innovative #okii
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Your University
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Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in March 2006. compiled by basil waugh
Everything but the Kitchen Sink:
UBC Geologists Experiment
with Household Items
The New York Times reports on
UBC geologists Alison Rust and
Mark Jellinek, who use everyday
items such as chocolate fudge and
liqueurs to demonstrate geological
"Lava would be pretty impractical to take into the classroom,"
said Rust, a postdoctoral fellow.
"These household items are
cheap, non-toxic and I don't have
to worry about spills."
In an experiment called, 'The
Earth: Kinda Like a Mai Tai?'
Jellinek pours various liqueurs
into plastic cups to demonstrate
how the composition of different
geological affects their motions.
The Human Genome Project,
If you're trying to impress the
nuances of genetics research upon
an unknowing public, featuring
half-naked, singing deliverymen
who shimmy their way up DNA-
shaped 'ladders of love' might not
be the most obvious way to go,
reports the U.K.'s The Scientist.
But that's what you get in The
Score, a stylized laboratory drama
that switches at will between
goofiness and artful poignancy.
The play-turned-film was the
brainchild of UBC medical geneticist Michael Hayden, who commissioned the work, based loosely
on his own lab, after the near
completion of the Human
Genome Project motivated him to
communicate with the public
about the project's implications.
"The creative process in its
purest form is exactly the same in
great art and great science," says
Hayden. In its attempt to prove
this, the film pieces together a
caricatured portrait of a lab and
its tangled web while managing to
check off a number of major
themes: big versus small science,
science versus religion, the lure of
selling out.
UBC geneticist Patricia Baird says that ads to sell human eggs should be illegal.
UN Peacekeeping Mission in
Sudan 'Near the Point of
The Economist cites UBC Prof.
Andrew Mack's Human Security
Report, which estimated that while
the number of armed conflicts
around the world had dipped
sharply since the early 1990s due
to UN peacekeeping efforts, more
people are being killed in African
wars than in all the rest of the
The article reports that as the
insurgency in Sudan's Darfur
region spills over into Chad,
efforts to strengthen the beleaguered African Union force in the
region, by turning it into a
14,000-person fully-fledged UN
blue-helmet mission with a robust
mandate, take on new urgency.
The editor of a review of global
peacekeeping by New York
University's Centre on
International Co-operation (CIC)
argues that without more support
for the UN, a new mission in
Darfur could push peacekeeping
efforts "past the point of overstretch," and calls for "strategic
reserves" to be developed, so that
troops can be sent more quickly to
trouble spots and missions under
strain can be reinforced faster.
Online Black Market: Human
Eggs for Sale
A Canadian Press story, picked up
by several Canadian dailies,
including the Montreal Gazette,
Hamilton Spectator, and the
Halifax Daily News, looks at how
almost two years after the federal
government passed a law banning
the sale of human eggs, women
are still advertising their ova for
sale on the Internet — and Health
Canada has no problem with it.
"I'm very surprised," said UBC
geneticist Patricia Baird, who
headed the 1993 Royal
Commission on New Reproductive
Technologies. "Clearly, if it's
illegal to sell eggs, it should be
illegal to advertise selling them.
The potential for exploitation of
women who need money to sell
their eggs is enormous."
Egg harvesting is an invasive,
medically risky procedure that
requires donor women to take
powerful hormones, usually by
injections that first stimulate, then
suppress, the ovaries. □
Director, Public Affairs
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Bud Mortenson bud.mortenson@ubc.ca
Hilary Thomson hilary.thomson@ubc.ca
Basil Waugh basil.waugh@ubc.ca
Sarah Walker public.affairs@ubc.ca
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Can't tell
your eco-footprint
from a one-tonne challenge? Don't know a
"Frankenfood" from a monocrop?
Sprouts, Canada's largest student-
run food co-op, intends to change
all that.
Located in the basement of UBC's
Student Union Building (SUB), the
not-for-profit grocery store and
education centre serves up not only
information on hot-button issues
related to our food, but also
affordable, organically grown local
and fair trade foods.
Elana Cossever is president of the
UBC Food Co-op, the student club
that has operated Sprouts since it
opened in September 2004. With
over 1,000 voluntary members, it is
the largest student-run food co-op
of only a handful in Canada and the
only co-operative campus retailer
in B.C.
"People come to our store not
only to buy all these amazingly tasty
organic, local and fair trade foods,
but also to learn about the ecological, economic, and social benefits of
eating these types of foods," says
Cossever, a Master's candidate in
the School of Community and
Regional Planning.
"There is so much research going
on at UBC into sustainable eating
practices — our store gives people
the opportunity to put the research
into practice."
In Sprouts' small, brightly-painted
location, shoppers will find artisan
cheeses and breads, fresh fruit and
produce, wraps, frozen soups,
coffees and teas, bulk foods, snacks,
condiments and vitamins. The store
also sells biodegradable cleaning
supplies and personal hygiene
Hayes Zirnhelt, a first-year engineering student who lives on campus, says that convenience is only
one reason why he shops at Sprouts.
"Because it's in the SUB, it means
I don't have to go off-campus when
I want to stock up on things — and
if I'm in a hurry, I can just pop in
for a banana or a wrap between
classes," he says. "But mostly I
come here because I believe in
eating organic foods — I think it
just tastes better, and I want to
know that I'm not eating pesticides
or anything."
While the co-op's motto is
"people- and planet-friendly foods,"
it could easily also be "act locally,
think globally," says Cossever.
"Because 90 per cent ofthe energy
that goes into industrial food
production is from environmentally
harmful fossil fuels — much of it
from transportation — we are
constantly looking for organic
suppliers closer to home."
"We purchase items that can't be
produced locally — bananas, chocolate, coffee and teas — through fair
trade networks, which work with
growers that protect human rights,
environmental standards and pay
better than the often exploitative
commodity markets," says Cossever.
In addition to information on hot-button environmental issues, Sprouts serves up affordable, organically grown local and fair trade foods.
'Because 90 per cent ofthe energy that goes into industrial food production is from environmentally
harmful fossil fuels — much of it from transportation — we are constantly looking for organic
suppliers closer to home."
In addition to the co-op's
commitment to social issues around
the globe, it has also partnered with
social enterprises closer to home.
Through the federal Katimavik
program, young Quebecois aged
17 to 21 come to work at Sprouts
for three-month terms to gain
English-speaking work experience
in a socially responsible work
environment. The store also
purchases all its soups, wraps,
breads, and baked goods from
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
Studio Cafe, which offers at-risk
youth and adults training as chefs.
Sprouts offers information on
fair trade, eating local and other
food-related issues through a series
of outreach initiatives, including a
Sprouts cookbook, a lending library,
e-mail newsletters, cooking demonstrations at student residences and
other special events. The co-op
recently arranged for Guatemalan
coffee farmers to come to UBC to
speak first-hand on how fair trade
networks ameliorate their
livelihoods. As part of March's
Ethical Consumption Week, Sprouts
presented "The Future of Food," a
film by Deborah Coons Garcia
(widow of musician Jerry Garcia)
on genetically modified food at the
UBC Norm Theatre.
Before moving into its current
location, the co-op's membership
consisted of less than 100 students
operating out of a portable behind
the Faculty of Land and Food
Systems' MacMillan building. But
when the group launched a weekly
open-air market in the SUB,
membership swelled to 400. On the
basis of these numbers, the AMS
offered the co-op a permanent
In addition to the exposure that
comes with being located in the
campus' busiest building, Cossever
cites the efforts of researchers such
as Bill Rees and Alejandros Rojas
and the operational initiatives of the
Campus Sustainability Office for
Sprouts' growth. "Because ofthe
work being done on sustainability,
students, staff, and faculty have
really embraced the store when they
find out about it," says Cossever.
A large part of Sprouts' success is
due to its seven-person executive's
ability to complement the store's
revenues with addition sources of
income including, from UBC's
AMS, a $20,000 donation of
in-kind renovations and a $3,000
Innovative Project Fund grant. The
student government continues to
offer its space rent-free in recognition of the co-op's club status. In
2004, then AMS Vice President
Academic Lyle McMahon, who
spearheaded the AMS Ethical and
Sustainable Purchasing Policy,
donated $2,000 of his salary to the
store's operation.
Cossever says that this financial
support allows the co-op to keep
prices as low as possible, which is
another reason for Sprout's
continued growth in membership.
"Because organic farmers don't
have the economics of scale of
conventional food producers, the
biggest argument against eating
organically is that it is more
expensive than non-organic foods,"
says Cossever. "We feel that students
should be able to afford to buy fair
trade and organic foods — and
because of our not-for-profit model,
we can sell these foods for less than
you will find anywhere else."
Sprouts' ecological and social
efforts are attracting international
attention. The U.S. Kellogg
Foundation, established in 1930 by
cereal pioneer WK. Kellogg to
promote sustainable food systems,
has lauded the store and invited then
co-op president Alice Miro to attend
its 2005 policy conference. Last year,
Canada's Sierra Youth Coalition featured Sprouts as part of its National
Sustainable Campus Conference,
and later this year, the store will be
profiled in a magazine published by
The Food Project, a Boston-based
non-governmental organization.
Sprouts is open Mon-Fri, 9:30
a.m. — 6 p.m. from September to
the end of classes in April.
For more information visit,
www.ams.ubc.ca/clubs/nfs. □
Want to Make a Difference?
Have a Brownie
Sprouts' huge organic brownies incorporate all the
facets of sustainability — ecological, economic, and
social. Available for $1.75, they are made from
scratch by at-risk youth and adults at Vancouver's
Downtown Eastside Cook Studio Cafe using fair
trade cocoa and cane sugar, free range eggs, and local
dairy and milled flour. UBC Food Co-op president
Elana Cossever calls the brownie the store's "little
" It's still super rich, but I think
we've made it as 'guilt-free' as a chocolate brownie is
going to get." □ 4     I
REPORTS       |      APRI
A Peek Past Peak Oil
BY HADI DOWLATABADI, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Applied Mathematics
and Global Change, Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability
Department Head - Psychiatry
The Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia together
with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) and the
Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), invite applications and
nominations for the position of Head of the Department of
Psychiatry at the anticipated rank of Professor.
We seek an outstanding academic leader to be responsible for
directing and developing the teaching and research programs of
the Department (http://www.pisvchiatrv.ubc.cali.
The Department has 33 full-time, and 212 clinical faculty and
attracts strong research support.   The successful candidate will
have the opportunity to play a key leadership role within the newly
founded UBC-Institute of Mental Health.    She or he should have
the appropriate qualifications and broad and proven administrative
experience, substantial academic and clinical experience, a proven
record of research activity, and a commitment to undergraduate,
graduate, post graduate and continuing health education.
Anticipated start date will be September 1, 2006.
Within the Health Authorities, the successful candidate will be
accountable for academic and professional issues relevant to the
strategic directions of the organization,  The candidate will work in
conjunction with hospital heads, senior executives and clinical
practice units, for human resource planning, recruiting and
performance management.
Academic rank and salary will be commensurate with experience
and qualifications. The successful candidate must be eligible for
professional registration in the Province of British Columbia.
Faculty of Medicine
Applications, accompanied by a detailed curriculum
vitae and names of three references, should be
directed by April 30, 2006 to:
Dr. Gavin C.E. Stuart, Dean
Faculty of Medicine
University of British Columbia
Room 317, Instructional Resources Centre
2194 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC   V6T 1Z3
Tne University of British Columbia hires on the basis of merit and
is committed to employment equity.  We encourage all qualified
applicants to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents
of Canada will be given priority.
High oil prices will not lead to the
end of fossil fuel use as some
hope, says Prof. Dowlatabadi.
How Water
Works in a
Anthropologist examines
the political ecology of
water in the Okanagan
When there's only so much water
to go around, who gets it and why?
It's the kind of question UBC
Okanagan anthropology professor
John Wagner hopes to answer as he
embarks on an exploration of how
water has been used by Aboriginal
peoples, European settlers, agricultural irrigation districts and communities in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley.
"I'll be looking at the history of
irrigation systems, water rights, and
the policies that have been developed
to manage water in the valley," says
Wagner, who lived in the Okanagan
in the 1970s and returned three
years ago after doing doctoral
research in a coastal community in
Papua New Guinea and working for
two years on a sustainable fisheries
research project in Nova Scotia.
Wagner's project, entitled From
Abundance to Scarcity: the Political
Ecology of Water Use in the
Okanagan Valley, has received
$85,864 in funding from the Social
Sciences and Humanities Research
Council. The project is slated to run
three years — but he has a longer
view. "I'm going to spend the rest of
my professional life working on
these issues in the Okanagan," he
The world's production of oil has
peaked and is on its way down,
meanwhile the awakening of new
economies like China and India has
deepened the thirst for the stuff. This
is popularly referred to as the Peak
Oil crisis. Many have interpreted this
as the death knell to fossil fuels and
the dawn of a new era of energy
conservation and alternative energy.
Unfortunately, those who have
pinned their hopes for such changes
on high oil prices will be disappointed to learn that we are simply at
another energy crossroads. Beyond
conservation and renewable
resources, there are plenty of fossil
fuels yet to exploit. And the nuclear
industry, in phoenix-like resurrection
from the glowing ashes of Chernobyl,
is also in the running as our savior.
History has seen humanity cope
with many past Peak Oil equivalents.
In the fourteenth century, the UK had
their "Peak Wood" crisis. Wood
demand had changed the landscape,
destroyed ecosystems, and the shortage promised disruption of society.
However, the rising price of wood led
to the emergence of coal as the new
fuel of choice and even greater energy
use. At the turn of the twentieth century, whale oil was the lighting fuel of
choice. With the demise of large
whales the price of fuel for lighting
rose tenfold to over one hundred
dollars per barrel and the era of
petroleum was born. In the 1920s,
Henry Ford was building his cars to
run on renewable fuels (ethanol).
Agricultural productivity could not
keep up with demand when yields
were poor, the price of ethanol rose
with each draught and blight, this
opened the door to petroleum products to captured the motorized transportation market.
Today, we are at a crossroads
again. Our options include: renew-
ables, nuclear, non-conventional oils
and coal. Unfortunately, none of
these options are free from vice.
Hydro dams are by far the most
established renewable energy
resource. However, even the existing
dams are opposed by environmentalists on the basis of their ecological
impacts. Wind is the next most competitive option in the marketplace.
However, in generating power from
the flow of energy in the atmosphere,
wind turbines change the climate too.
The nuclear option scares the public
because of fuel processing and
radioactive wastes that will be with us
for thousands of years. They are also
of concern because security around
nuclear infrastructure is socially
Renewable alternatives such as bio-
diesel and ethanol are being ramped
up rapidly, but at most can contribute
20 per cent of our liquid fuel needs
before 2020. The "smart money" is
on infrastructure to convert coal and
tar sands into liquid fuels. These
options will have the upper hand
because their fuel is most compatible
with our existing infrastructure. This
rush to fill the shortfall will lead to
over-capacity. There will be a glut in
the liquid fuels market, and the price
of "oil and its equivalents" will not
rise beyond $100 per barrel as predicted, but fall towards the marginal
cost of production from tar sands and
coal at between 20 to 40 dollars per
barrel. This will not be conducive to
energy conservation in the long run.
And while we can be chastised for
being profligate, we cannot deny the
rest of the world the needs that only
greater energy consumption can fulfill.
There is a silver lining to this seemingly gloomy tale. As recendy as five
years ago, the spectre of oil at $60 per
barrel would send politicians scurrying. Environmentalists urging for pollution controls and carbon mitigation
to prevent further climate change were
dismissed for their unacceptable cost.
Since we have now lived through oil
at these high prices without economic
and social crises, the environmentalists
can now remind politicians that their
fears were groundless and that we as a
society can afford to meet our seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy
while dramatically reducing its harmful effects on the environment. □
John Wagner is studying how water, a scarce resource in one of Canada's
most arid regions, is distributed and used in B.C. s Okanagan Valley
Drenched in 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, the Okanagan is a land
of contrasts: the width of a wire
fence can separate irrigated leafy
orchards and vineyards from native
grasslands spiked with cactus and
sumac. Lakes reach from north to
south, and lush green corridors
along creeks and streams — known
as riparian areas — punctuate the
landscape. Yet for all its prominence
water is by no means abundant here.
This fragile environment is home to
one of Canada's most arid climates.
"Over recent decades, rapid
development and urbanization have
resulted in habitat fragmentation
and loss of biodiversity with the
Okanagan now being classified as
one of the most endangered habitats
in the country," says Wagner.
"Riparian environments and
wetiands are among the types of
habitat most under siege as a result
of past and current water and land
management strategies. You couldn't
have all the agriculture in this valley
without water, and we've been pretty
good at redistributing water."
But that redistribution of water
raises complex issues that go back
to early European settlement of the
region, when government began
allocating water rights.
"Water allocation practices have
important social outcomes as well as
ecological and economic outcomes,"
he says. "Water equity is an issue to
look at. The people who were
getting the water rights at that time
were the people who were going to
develop the region. It was not the
Aboriginal people." In the Penticton
area, for example, indigenous agricultural activity was well established
and thriving by the end ofthe 1800s.
Then, as water rights were granted
to newly arriving farming interests in
the early part of the 1900s, less and
less was available for Aboriginal
pastures and other agriculture.
continued on page 8 UBC     REPORTS      |     APRIL     6,     2 O O 6      |     5
A world-wide sustainability transition is intended to enhance human
prosperity, protect the Earth's life-support systems and reduce hunger and
poverty. To what extent are we
approaching this goal in the area of
water resources (question 1) and is it
even useful to address this question
by sector (question 2)?
The total amount of freshwater
available for human use is not at
issue: more than one billion cubic
kilometres of freshwater are found at
and close to the Earth's surface. Least
of all in Canada is this a problem,
where half of one percent of the
global population has access to 9 per
cent of global surface freshwater. But
the distribution of surface freshwater
(distant from many urban centres)
and the timing of precipitation
(least during seasons of greatest
agricultural, industrial and domestic
demand) present challenges to
human ingenuity.
Groundwater, on which 25 per
cent of Canadians are dependent, is
increasingly threatened by pollution
from inappropriate land uses. More
serious is the fact that Canadians use
more water per capita than any other
nation except the United States (over
600 litres per capita per day for all
uses on average). Immediate improvements would not be painful to make
given that Canadian households with
metered water use consume less than
300 litres per capita per day for
domestic purposes, whereas those
paying a flat rate for water consume
over 400 litres per capita per day for
the same purposes. However, the
political will to implement such simple
improvements remains weak.
It has been pointed out numerous
times that inadequate access to and
inappropriate management of
freshwater resources are leading to a
wide range of ecological and human
crises. Human populations continue
to grow, wetiands are experiencing
severe reduction, land use changes
that favour urban development are
intensifying, and tropical rainforests
continue to be logged at unsustainable
rates. If the global climatic changes
that are well documented continue to
move in the direction of greater
warmth and aridity then water related
illnesses and regional conflicts over
scarce shared watersupplies can be
expected to accelerate.
The answer to the first question is
therefore that Canadians in particular,
and humanity in general, are not
making good progress towards
achievement of sustainable water
resources. Criteria that are increasingly being considered and which
represent positive signs in this
discouraging scenario include: (1) an
agreed principle of guaranteed access
to a basic amount of water necessary
to maintain human health and to sustain ecosystems: (2) basic protections
for the renewabfJity of water
resources, and; (3) institutional
recommendations for planning,
management and conflict resolution.
The answer to the second question is
that freshwater resources intersect with
so many human activities that it is at
least a questionable strategy to attempt
to deal with the issue sectorally.
Whether we look at so-called in-stream
uses of freshwater, such as hydroelectric power production, shipping,
recreation or fish habitat, or so-called
withdrawal uses such as domestic,
industrial, irrigation, livestock watering
and thermal plant cooling, freshwater
resources must surely be managed in
conjunction with holistic policies
directed towards realization of a
worldwide sustainability transition. □
Growing a New Generation of Green Buildings
Trees aren't the only things
sprouting up green at UBC these
days. Walk into one of the newer
buildings, and you're likely to
encounter a range of environmentally
friendly features.
The first two green buildings —
the CK. Choi Building for the
Institute of Asian Research and the
tovoltaic cells to store solar power
for emergency lighting and serves as
an educational tool for electrical
engineering students.
The Life Sciences Centre (LSC)
made history this January when it
was awarded the prestigious
Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED ®)
tributes to an annual saving of 6.4
million kWh of electricity and nearly
$200,000 in energy costs.
Over at the Great Northern Way
Campus (GNWC), the Centre for
Interactive Research on
Sustainability (CIRS) is set to begin
construction this spring. Designed
with 3D virtual software, CIRS will
"As far as sustainability is concerned, no other community in North
America is aiming for such high standards."
Liu Institute for Global Studies —
were constructed in the late 1990s.
They have won five international
awards, including a listing on the
American Institute of Architects' Top
Ten Earth Day 2000 Green Buildings,
for features such as natural ventilation, recycled building materials and
composting toilets.
More recently, the Fred Kaiser
Building, which opened in September
2005 and houses the Dept. of
Electrical and Computer Science, was
lauded for its use of solar-protectant
ceramic window coating to conserve
energy while maximizing natural
lighting. Designed to be a "living laboratory" for engineering students, the
facility's skylights are lined with pho-
Gold certification by the United
States Green Building Council for its
innovative sustainability features.
The largest building at UBC, the LSC
is only the second facility that houses
research laboratories in Canada to
receive the environmentally-friendly
seal of approval. Only four other
buildings in the province and seven
others in Canada have reached this
Compared to standard buildings,
the LSC emits 1,000 tonnes fewer
greenhouse gases annually, consumes
28 per cent less energy and 50 per
cent less water. A dynamic monitoring system, which adjusts interior
lighting and ventilation according to
the external environment, con-
incorporate cutting-edge sustainability features, including oxygenated
environments and remote-source
lighting technology, invented by
Lome Whitehead, UBC Vice-
President, Academic.
UBC's newest campus in
Kelowna, B.C., is also poised to
make major innovations.
Groundwater geo-exchange technology, where groundwater will be used
to heat and cool $400 million worth
of new buildings planned for the
UBC Okanagan campus, will be
replacing an existing natural gas
plant, which is nearing the end of its
It is estimated that the new system
will prevent 38,000 tonnes of car-
continued on page 10
The CK. Choi building is the first green building at UBC. 6       |       UBC      REPORTS      |      APRIL     6,      2006
Close to
Associate Professor, and
Senior Instructor,
Faculty of Land and Food Systems
The global food system that cur
rently serves UBC and its region has
delivered large volumes of low-cost
food, but is also implicated in the
health issues that flow from over
and underconsumption and faces
many challenges to its sustainability.
Not the least of these challenges are
the costs of long distance
transportation of food and the
separation of the vast majority of
people from the sources of their
Food security and sustainable
food systems have become central
concerns in the Faculty of Land and
Food Systems (FLFS, formerly
Agricultural Sciences), at UBC.
This is the result of our Faculty's
transformation to a more explicit
focus on "human health, a
Prof. Bomke (above) and Senior Instructor Rojas (left) have made UBC itself into a living lab to study food systems.
sustainable food supply and the
responsible use of finite land and
water resources using student-
centred learning and interdisciplinary perspectives."   Instructors and
students in the FLFS Land, Food
and Community core curriculum
have mounted two initiatives, The
Food Security Project in the City of
Vancouver and the UBC Food
System Project, aimed at providing
our students with a solid
understanding of the ecological,
social and economic sustainability
of food systems.
The Collaborative Project on
Food Security in the City of
This Community-Based Action
Research Project explores
approaches for reconnecting food,
human health and environmental
health to improve food security
and, secondly and more specifically,
by contributing to the City of
Vancouver's efforts to enhance food
security and sustainability.
This project involves collaboration with the adjacent community,
the Vancouver School Board and
the City of Vancouver to share and
produce knowledge about the
existing situation and devise and
implement action plans for
transition to greater food security
and food system sustainability.
The UBC Food System Project
The initial idea for this course was
to link the Faculty's curriculum with
the UBC Farm on the UBC South
Campus. However, the teaching
team's original idea evolved to
recognize the UBC Farm as one
thread of a larger tapestry: the UBC
food system. Thus, the central theme
of the course became the problem of
the overall sustainability of the UBC
food system.
We saw the UBC food system as
a microcosm of, and interrelated to,
the global food system. Given its
area and rapidly increasing population, we felt that assessments of the
sustainability of the UBC Vancouver
campus and its evolving "University
Town" development must include
consideration of how the "Town"
will be fed and how this can inform
its land use and institutional food
The UBC Food Security Project is
the first project at a university in
Canada to come up with
sustainability principles and to
connect students with the major
stakeholders — the departments
and people who manage the food,
the campus farm, and the waste at
the university.  Besides the team
from the FLFS, and the UBC
Campus Sustainability Office's
SEEDS Program, initiators of the
UBC Food System Project, the other
partners in the project are UBC
Food Services, the Alma Mater
Society's Food & Beverages
Department, UBC Farm (Centre for
Sustainable Food Systems), UBC
Waste Management, UBC Campus
and Community Planning.
Both the Collaborative Project on
Food Security in Vancouver and the
UBC Food Security Project are
intended to connect our students
and instructors' teaching and learning objectives with the immediate
environment and the people of the
region. UBC and British Columbia,
in general, are in an era of unprecedented growth and facing challenges
to the sustainability of our agriculture and human settiements. The
core values of our Faculty demand
that we connect ourselves and our
students with the nutrition and
health of our population and the
sustainability of our campus and
community food systems. □
Air Pollution
The price for our way of life
Professor, Department of Earth
and Ocean Sciences, and
Professor, School of Occupational
and Environmental Hygiene
When most of us think of air
pollution, images of factories
belching smoke or vehicles leaving
behind a cloud of soot often come
to mind. Such conditions led to
historical episodes of deadly air
pollution — the most notorious
being the great London smog in
December of 1952 when there were
and cars produce far less pollution source of green-
than even 30 years ago and air quali- house gas emis-
ty in many cities throughout world sions contribut-
(including Vancouver) has improved ing to climate
dramatically. This success has change. There
occurred primarily in cities in are many current
Western Europe and North America, initiatives to
and is exemplified by the introduc- mitigate this
Lion of smokeless fuels for space problem but they
heating and the removal of lead as have only
an anti-knock agent in motor vehicle scratched the
fuels. These examples show that surface given the
appropriate legislation and manage- huge numbers of
ment initiatives combined with new people involved,
technologies and population educa- Many decades
Lion can have dramatic effects. of research have
Yet all is not well. Today, half of led to huge
the world's population, primarily the advances in our
Our "just-in-time delivery" economy and sprawling
cities result in more localized truck traffic and
its carcinogenic diesel exhaust.
approximately 12,000 excess deaths
resulting from a 5-day period of
intense air pollution. With growing
worldwide industrialization, emissions have increased and become
more widespread.  The introduction
of more complex fuels, and combustion occurring in a wider range of
conditions, has led to growing toxicity of emissions, and increasingly
evident effects on ecosystems.
Modern power plants, factories
rural poor of developing countries,
still cooks over open fires. The
resulting smoke exposure leaves nonsmoking women with lung disease
typical of smokers and is a major
contributor to infant pneumonia —
the number one cause of infant mortality in the world. The World
Health Organization estimates that
such air pollution is responsible for 2
million deaths per year. This inefficient burning of fuel is also a major
understanding of
and chemical Pmf- Douw Steyn
factors underlying the formation of
air pollution and the complexities
involved in its fate and impacts on
humans and ecosystems. This
understanding has made it clear that
our activities and lifestyle contribute
to cosdy air pollution locally,
regionally and globally. Living close
to one of the many roads in our
says his research is driven by an interest in the polluted atmosphere.
cities results in increased risks for
numerous respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
For the convenience afforded by
the car, we pay by emitting fine
particles in our neighbourhoods and
producing precursors that form
ozone which damages cash crops,
stunts the growth of our trees and
affects human lungs hundreds of
kilometres downwind.
Our "just-in-time delivery"
economy and sprawling cities result
continued on page 11 IC      REPORTS      |      APRI
2 0 0 6      I      7
A Matter of Inter-Generational Justice
BY PAUL WOOD Associate Professor, Faculty of Forestry
Sustainability primarily refers to
the human use of the natural
environment, and implies that we
should sustain.. .something. And for
some length of time. Well, should
The answer, of course, depends
on what we ought to sustain and
for how long, and it is precisely
these contentious issues of content
and duration that frustrate the
definition of the concept of sustainability. Also, who should do the
sustaining, for whom, and why?
These are ethical issues. They are
not scientific issues, although science is indispensable for suggesting
how we might sustain, and for predicting the consequences of failing
to do so. Instead, these are fundamental issues about how we should
or ought to treat others by way of
the natural environment. They are
issues about interpersonal, international, and intergenerational justice;
about how we ought to distribute
natural resources spatially and
temporally. Some would include
interspecies justice. In turn, rationality, not personal opinion, is the
foundation of principles of justice.
Take intergenerational justice, for
example. It is not rational that one
generation should get more of what
it wants than others if the only
distinguishing feature of the lucky
generation is its prior existence in
time. That distinction is arbitrary,
and rationality abhors arbitrariness.
Intergenerational injustice is simply
raw, irrational discrimination.
So who should sustain what, for
how long, and for whom? At a
minimum, we ought to practice
intergenerational justice, which in
turn implies conserving enough of
the natural environment to ensure
that future generations will have the
same opportunities in life that we
have.  Recent work on sustainability
of forests, fisheries, agriculture, and
other resource sectors has given us
some clear insight into what we
ought to do. For example, we know
that we have to give fish populations time to rebuild themselves: the
world's fisheries are largely depleted
from massive overharvesting. And
we know that we have to learn to
live without further destroying
species' habitats; we are now losing
species at a rate unprecedented
since the demise of the dinosaurs
65 million years ago.
At the same time, three ethical
issues are impeding our ability to
sustain. First, some still believe in
the 'techno-fix,' that humans are
sufficientiy ingenious to find
substitutes for any resource that
becomes too scarce.   Admittedly,
humans are innovative, and to some
small extent we can substitute one
resource for another.
But the human-caused rate of
change to the Earth is so large and
rapid — to the point of affecting
major life-support systems — that it
is unlikely that future generations
will be able to substitute for the
damage we are doing. The
preceding article by Professor Rees
speaks to this issue.
Second, since we cannot know
exactly what future generations will
want, some people would like to
dismiss the idea that we carry any
obligations to those who will follow
us.   This is a non sequitur. We do
not know the specific preferences of
future generations, but we do know
they will want all-purpose goods
such as biological resources and
tolerable environmental conditions.
Yet it is precisely these conditions,
including the environmental
condition known as 'biodiversity'
(the source of biological resources),
that the present generation is
degrading so rapidly.
Finally, the political structure of
Western nations caters to the short-
term preferences of the current
electorate for a straight-forward
reason: voters authorize liberal
democratic governments to act only
in their best interests (in theory).
Sustainability strongly implies that
Western nations — the most rapacious consumers of the world's
resources — constrain their rates of
consumption for the sake of future
generations (not to mention most
currently living people). But these
governments cannot act in the
interests of future generations unless
the current electorate authorizes
them to do so. And we do not; not
by a long shot.
The one thing we should not
sustain, therefore, is our current
way of thinking. □
At a minimum, says Prof. Wood, we ought to conserve enough ofthe
natural environment to ensure future generations will have the same
opportunities that we have.
UBC a Test Site on Hydrogen Highway
continued from page 1
Canada — to test and showcase the
efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells.
"Our role in the project is to
integrate fuel cell technology into our
plans for a sustainable campus," says
Jorge Marques, CSO energy
manager. "We want to explore
community-oriented applications for
hydrogen technology."
Hydrogen fuel cells are
electrochemical devices that generate
electricity without combustion by
combining hydrogen and oxygen to
produce water and heat. Their
primary advantage is that, unlike
internal combustion engines, they
create little air pollution, greenhouse
gases, noise, or vibration, and
operate at high efficiencies over a
wide range of loads. In addition,
hydrogen can be produced anywhere
in the world.
"We want the UBC community to
experience concepts they may have
only read about or seen on TV," says
Irfan Rehmanji, project coordinator
for the UBC node. "The node will
integrate a number of concepts that
affect our daily life and will be a
phenomenal outreach and social
marketing tool."
The university plans to participate
with Vancouver's Westport
Innovation to convert a heavy-duty
vehicle to a diesel-hydrogen hybrid
engine. Another initiative involves a
new patrol vehicle for Campus
Security that uses a hybrid fuel cell
drive train, designed by Lower
Mainland companies Dynasty
Motors and Delta-Q technologies.
The fuel cell will be supplied by
Vancouver-based Ballard Power
Micro fuel cells, supplied by
Vancouver-based partner Angstrom
Power, will be used to power lights
for bikes or bike helmets, to explore
how the cells can be used for
small-scale applications. Some UBC
walkie-talkies and 10-20 cell phones
will also be retrofitted with
hydrogen fuel cell units.
In addition, UBC will work with
TransLink, the Greater Vancouver
Transportation Authority, to run a
fuel cell-operated 36-passenger
community shuttle bus on the
Vancouver campus area.
There are three major fuel cell
demonstration projects in Canada,
says Alison Grigg, manager of the
BC Hydrogen Highway™ Project.
In addition to the highway, there is
the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle
project and Hydrogen Village in
"B.C. is leading the way in
hydrogen fuel cell technology,
with delegates from around
the world coming to look at what
we're doing," says Grigg. "UBC is a
logical development and demonstration site because of its vision for a
sustainable campus and its leadership in sustainability practices and
Hydrogen does not exist by itself
in nature — it must be produced
and compressed to be useful. It can
be extracted from substances such as
natural gas or other fossil fuels, or
from methane gas produced at
landfills or hog farms. Hydrogen
can also be produced using solar or
other renewable electricity, such as
that derived from water that is
electrolyzed from having an electric
current run through it.
The NRC Institute for Fuel Cell
Innovation on campus currentiy
operates a hydrogen fuelling station,
which will be used for the UBC
projects. Creating and
storing hydrogen economically is
one of the challenges of the
hydrogen economy, and has led
environmentalist David Suzuki to
query if the hydrogen economy is
hope or just hype.
He wrote in Science Matters in
May 2004 that "to be pollution-free,
hydrogen must be made using
renewable energy, such as solar or
wind. Otherwise, we will simply shift
the pollution source from our vehicle
tailpipes to smokestacks at
hydrogen-production plants."
Sources of hydrogen are being
uncovered all the time, says Grigg,
who is confident that sufficient and
sustainable supplies can ultimately be
made available.
Final funding
approval for UBC's projects is
expected this month.
The Hydrogen Highway™ is
supported by several Government of
Canada organizations that include
Natural Resources Canada, Industry
Canada, Hydrogen Early Adopters
Program, Sustainable Development
Technology Canada and Fuel Cells
Canada, a private, not-for-profit
industry association based at UBC.
For more information on fuel
cells, visit www.fuelcellscanada.ca. □ I      UBC      REPORTS       |      APRIL     6,      2006
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A Global Look at*Fisherie
A Symposium to honor
Professor Daniel Pauly
for the 13th International Cosmos
Prize & his 60th Birthday
The University of British Columbia is proud to
host this celebratory symposium.
On Tuesday 2 May, distinguished international
colleagues will give invited lectures that focus
on topics representing Prof. Pauly's career,
with further festivities at dinner.
On Wednesday 3 May, UBC will host a
student forum and public lectures by
Dr. jcrcmy Jackson and Dr. Carl Safina.
To register for the event and
for more information, please visit
thinkingbig.fisheries, ubc.ca
Beating the Kyoto Targets
How a community of
50,000 is learning to
tread more lightly
on the earth.
In 1997, UBC was the first Canadian
university to adopt a sustainability
development policy. In 1998, UBC
opened the Campus Sustainability
Office (CSO) — the first of its kind,
as well.
Eight years later, student, faculty
and staff efforts are seeing results.
They have helped UBC's Vancouver
campus surpass Canada's 2012
Kyoto Protocol targets, having
reduced over the past 16 years
greenhouse gas emissions by 25
per cent. And last year, UBC was
Canada's first and only university to
receive Green Campus Recognition
from the U.S.-based National
Wildlife Federation.
How does a campus community
of 50,000 organize itself to tread
more lightly on the earth? CSO
Director Freda Pagani says the secret
lies in making it easy for students,
staff and faculty to do good.
"People emotionally are ready to
do something, but don't know
what," says Pagani, who has steered
CSO from the start. "Our role is to
says here's an easy thing you can do
and it's fun."
Since 1999, despite a 24 per cent
increase in students, UBC has
reduced energy use in campus buildings by 10 per cent — saving $8
million. As well, UBC has cut down
on water use by 32 per cent, enough
to supply 14,700 homes for a year.
Since 1997, UBC has seen transit
ridership increase by 140 per cent —
now at more than 50,000 daily users
— and single-occupant vehicle traffic
decrease by 18 per cent per capita.
This has been largely through initiatives like U-Pass that provides all
People are emotionally ready to do good; just make it easy for them,
advises Freda Pagani, director, Campus Sustainabilty Office.
At that time, Pagani was working
at UBC's project development office.
She decided that her next building
project would demonstrate a green
building. Pagani worked with a team
of 30 architects, engineers, designers,
administrators, who were told to
dream big, but to bring the
C.K.Choi Building in on budget and
will develop eight residential and
mixed-use neighborhoods featuring
student, faculty and staff housing,
university-related shops and services,
a community centre, a school and a
range of public amenities. The plan
stipulates that at least 50 per cent of
households must include one resident
who works or studies at UBC, with
Since 1999, despite a 24 per cent increase in students, UBC has
reduced energy use in campus buildings by 10 per cent — saving $8
million. As well, UBC has cut down on water use by 32 per cent,
enough to supply 14,700 homes for a year.
students with an affordable monthly
transit pass and unlimited access to
Translink bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain
services. The U-Pass first became
available in 2003 when UBC's
transportation planning department,
formally known as TREK, partnered
with the Alma Mater Society and
Pagani, who holds a PhD in
Resource Management and
Environmental Studies, says the
mindset of sustainability requires a
radical shift in thinking, one that she
sees happening at UBC. Her own
turning point came in spearheading
the concept of UBC's OK. Choi
Building, which, upon its opening in
1996, won several awards and set
new green benchmarks for the
"I was pretty depressed about the
world and I was doing my bit to
reuse plastic bags and turn off lights,
but it didn't feel like I was making
enough of an impact."
on time.
"That experience changed my
life," says Pagani. "At the end,
everyone said that was the best project they've ever been in. Mostiy
because everyone felt we had given
them permission to be creative, to be
imaginative and to make a difference. "
Pagani was told that she would
have to fund her own salary and
CSO activities through energy savings. She devised ecotrek, one ofthe
largest institutional retrofits in
Canada. In 2002, UBC kicked off
the $35-million-dollar program to
save money and energy by upgrading mechanical and electrical systems
in core campus buildings. By this
year, ecotrek will reduce C02 emissions by about 15,000 tonnes each
year and generate annual savings of
about $2.5 million.
By 2010, UBC aims to have
another 20,000 people living on
campus. The University Town Plan
an eye to reducing automobile traffic
to and from campus.
Pagani says that UBC has adopted
a five-year sustainability action plan
to build on this momentum. Goals
include integrating sustainability
issues into research, teaching and
But at the heart of all these efforts,
says Pagani, is a deeper shift that's
slowly taking shape.
"We've made a good start with
economic and environmental
sustainability, but we're still learning
about community and how to treat
each other."
That aspect of sustainability will
transform everything we do and
think, says Pagani. "Connection is
the key — our connection to each
other and to the natural world."
For more information about
UBC's sustainability initiatives, visit:
http://www.trek.ubc.ca/ □
How Water Works in a Valley
"So they had to abandon that
activity," says Wagner.
In collaboration with the
En'owkin Centre, an Indigenous
cultural, educational and creative
arts institution in Penticton, and the
Penticton Indian Band, he has
previously interviewed elders from
that community and will soon be
interviewing orchardists and
ranchers from other communities in
the Penticton area. "We want people
to describe the changes they've seen
in water use during their lifetimes,"
he says.
It is a big project, but ultimately
Wagner hopes to be able to share his
findings with water managers,
guiding tomorrow's stewardship of a
precious and limited natural
resource. To that end he will also be
studying the operation of water man-
continued from page 4
agement organizations in the valley.
"There are a lot of institutions in
the Okanagan with authority over
water and water quality, but they're
not co-ordinated," says Wagner.
"The hope is that by studying the
institutional structure of water
management organizations here we
will be able to find ways to manage
water in a more sustainable and
equitable manner." □ UBC      REPORTS       |      APRIL     6,      2 O O 6      |      9
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Footprints to Sustainability
continued from page 1
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fio-footprinting thus starts from a
series of simple premises:
• People remain integral
components of the ecosystems
that sustain them;
• Most human impacts on ecosystems are associated with energy
and material extraction and consumption (all economic activity
has material consequences);
• Many energy and material flows
are readily measurable and can
be converted to corresponding
productive or assimilative
ecosystems areas;
• There is a finite area of
productive land and water
ecosystems on Earth.
From this perspective, every
human population imposes an ecological load' or 'footprint' on Earth
measured in terms of sustained
demand for bio-productivity. We
therefore define the ecological footprint of a specified population as the
area of land and water ecosystems
required, on a continuous basis, to
produce the resources that the population consumes, and to assimilate
(some of) the wastes that the population produces, wherever on Earth
the relevant land/water is located.
Per capita eco-footprints can be estimated by dividing aggregate national
footprint by the total population.
What does EFA tell us that might be
relevant to prospects for global
sustainability? For starters:
• Energy/material consumption
remains highly correlated with
rising GDP/income per capita;
• The average eco-footprints of
high-income countries range
from about 4.5 to almost ten
hectares of global average
productivity per capita (ha/cap);
those of developing countries are
as small as 0.5 ha/cap;
• Many high-income countries
have eco-footprints up to several
times the size of their domestic
• The average human eco-
footprint is about 2.2 ha/cap;
• There are only about 1.8 ha/cap
significandy productive land
and water on Earth.
These five key findings alone suggest that the sustainability challenge
is greater than the world community
has heretofore been willing to concede. First, the denizens of wealthy
market economies like the US,
Canada, most Western European
countries and Japan appropriate two
to five times their equitable share of
earth's bio-capacity while those of
low-income countries like
Bangladesh, Mozambique and even
China, use only a fraction of their
equitable allocation.
Second, many wealthy consumer
societies have greatiy overshot their
domestic carrying capacities and are
running large eco-deficits with the
rest of the world. These countries
would have long since stabilized or
imploded in the absence of trade. As
expected, trade sustains short-term
growth and short-circuits the
negative feedback from degraded
ecosystems that would otherwise
serve to warn countries that they are
approaching local biophysical limits.
In effect, the world's rich nations
finance their ecological deficits by
extending their ecological footprints
deeply into exporting nations and
the open ecosphere. (We now
achieve through commerce what
used to require territorial occupation!) The downside is that by shuffling bio-capacity around, trade
ensures that the entire human family
will hit global limits simultaneously.
Third is an obvious ecological
corollary — not all countries can
run an eco-deficit. For every
sustainable deficit there must be a
permanent surplus somewhere else
and there are no true surpluses. The
aggregate world population has
already overshot global carrying
capacity by about 20 per cent (The
direct empirical evidence is accelerat
ing global degradation).
Fourth, on an ecologically full
planet, the less-developed countries
cannot sustainably follow the developed world's path to material extravagance. If 1.2 billion people of China
had the same per capita eco-footprint
as citizens of the US, China alone
would require the entire bio-capacity
of Earth. (The US, with less that 5
per cent of the world's population,
uses about a quarter of its resources.)
To bring the present world
population up to, say, North
American material standards with
prevailing technology would require
four additional Earth-like planets!
This poses a conundrum for
growth-based sustainability. As
someone once wryly observed, "good
planets are hard to find." An ever-
expanding global economy thus puts
humanity on a collision course with
ecological sustainability. Geo-political
sustainability too — in a competitive
world of climate change and increasing resource shortages, rising material
expectations everywhere may become
greatest threat to human security.
The challenge of EFA to sustainability is therefore really quite
straightforward. We must learn to
share Earth's bio-capacity more equitably. First-World countries should
be implementing policy measures to
reduce their per capita ecological
footprints to 1.8 ha/capita to create
the ecological space for needed
growth in the Third World — and
the reductions will have to deepen as
world population grows. For wealthy
consumer societies, this implies a 75
per cent reduction in material and
energy consumption and poses an
immense challenge both to technology and lifestyles. (Other energy/
material flows studies argue for 90
per cent reductions). These numbers
may seem politically impossible, but
they are ecologically necessary for
sustainability. Unfortunately, prevailing mainstream approaches merely
makes the growing human enterprise
more efficiently unsustainable. □
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New Generation of Green Buildings
continued from page 5
bon dioxide emissions into the
atmosphere over a 20-year period,
the equivalent to taking 8,000 cars
off the road, or planting 18,000
acres of fruit trees or vineyards.
In addition to these academic
facility milestones, UBC's residential
developments are also going
"In just the past year, seven
development projects on campus
new residential developments on
campus, including the upcoming
South Campus Neighbourhood,
which will consist of nearly 2,000
"It ensures a basic level of energy
and water efficiency and encourages
developers to take additional steps to
produce a more sustainable project,"
says Marques. "In one mid-sized
development that is currently under
and as far away as Kelowna have
noticed REAP's success and
requested information to potentially
adopt the program.
Meanwhile, Joe Redmond,
vice-president of UBC Properties
Trust, which co-developed REAP,
says the University's commitment to
sustainability goes far deeper than
conscientious designs and
energy-efficient buildings.
'In just the past year, seven development projects on campus have adopted
the Residential Environmental Assessment Program (REAP)."
have adopted the Residential
Environmental Assessment Program
(REAP)," says Jorge Marques,
energy manager of the UBC
Sustainability Office.
Launched in November 2004, the
made-in-UBC pilot program is the
residential equivalent of LEED®,
which is awarded to leading-edge
buildings that incorporate environmentally sustainable design, construction, and operational features to
reduce environmental impact.
During its pilot year, housing developers were encouraged to voluntarily
comply — and exceed — sustainability principles already being applied to
their institutional counterparts.
REAP is now mandatory for all
construction, the home owners will
collectively save over $11,500 in
energy costs per year as a direct
result of using this program."
While LEED®, used for
institutional buildings and high-rises,
can be costiy and time-consuming,
REAP takes a market-driven
approach to attracting developers to
adopt sustainability initiatives, says
"It was never meant to be
outrageously costly or onerous. We
simply offer developers principles
that are good for the environment
and ultimately healthier for the
Neighbouring municipalities
including North Vancouver, Burnaby
"In both the UBC Official and
Comprehensive Community Plans,
concrete goals were set to transform
us from a commuter campus to a
university town where 25 per cent
of the students live here and 50 per
cent of campus housing will have at
least one resident studying or
working at UBC," says Redmond.
"The decrease in fossil fuel
consumption and greenhouse gas
emission from that policy alone will
far exceed energy efficiency savings
of any green building. The impact
will be tremendous."
"As far as sustainability is
concerned, no other community in
North America is aiming for such
high standards." □ UBC      REPORTS      |      APRIL     6,      2 O O 6      |
Air Pollution
continued from page 6
in more localized truck traffic and its
carcinogenic diesel exhaust.  Our
thirst for inexpensive consumer
products leading to increased emissions from Chinese factories and the
container vessels traversing the
world and idling in ports has both
local and global implications. Since
the most severe impacts are felt in
the growing economies of Asia —
where air pollution in urban areas
leads to hundreds of thousands of
deaths per year — our purchases are
linked to global health inequity.
Further, the west coasts of Europe
and North America now receive
measurable quantities of air pollutants from across the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans respectively.  This is
evidence that the entire lower atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere is
becoming increasingly polluted, even
in "pristine" oceanic areas.
So, if we are the problem, then we
must work towards solutions. These
solutions depend on emissions
reductions through technological
advances such as fuel cells, and also
the use of solar, wind and other
alternative energy sources.
Technological advances alone are
unlikely to be sufficient — changes
in land use and urban structure and
transportation will be needed. But
most importandy we must realize
that it is our lifestyle and all of its
conveniences that ultimately must be
the key to sustainable air quality. □
Order of Canada
Three members of the UBC
community — a renowned
environmentalist, a leading expert
in fisheries oceanography and an
animal ethicist— were appointed to
the Order of Canada by Governor
General of Canada Michaelle Jean
on Feb. 3, 2006.
David Suzuki, professor emeritus
of zoology, has been promoted within
the Order to the rank of Companion.
An award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster, Suzuki
recently returned to the university as
a speaker in the UBC Global
Citizenship Seminar Series. (For an
audio recording of his lecture, visit
Appointed to the rank of Officer is
oceanography Professor Emeritus
Timothy Parsons. In 2001, Parsons
became the first Canadian to win the
prestigious Japan Prize — Japan's
equivalent to the Nobel Prize — for
his contributions to fisheries oceanography and marine conservation.
David Fraser, a professor in the
Faculty of Land and Food Systems
and the W Maurice Young Centre
for Applied Ethics, has been appointed to the rank of member. Fraser's
work on animal welfare and ethics
has led to many innovations in animal housing and management, ranging from designing better pig pens to
reducing highway accidents involving
Established in 1967, the Order of
Canada is the highest honour that
Canada can give its citizens for
exceptional achievement, merit or
service. These most recent
appointments are effective Nov. 17,
2005. For more information, visit
Steacie Fellowships
A UBC tree geneticist and a software
engineer have each been awarded
2006 Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council
(NSERC) Steacie Fellowships — one
of Canada's premier science and engineering prizes — earning UBC two of
the six prizes awarded Canada-wide.
Joerg Bohlmann, an associate
professor of Botany and Forest
Prof. Michael Brauer's research interests include air pollution health effects
and air quality.
Sciences, explores trees' chemical
defense mechanisms against insects
and other pathogens. Also a member
of UBC's Michael Smith
Laboratories and an associate of
UBC's Wine Research Centre,
Bohlmann's work could lead to new,
environmentally safe methods for
plant protection.
He is one of four co-directors of
Canada's first large-scale forestry
genome project. The $15-million
project involves sequencing the
genome of poplar and spruce to
identify the genetic blueprint that
determines features such as wood
quality and health, including defense
mechanisms and resistance systems
in forest trees.
Bohlmann, who joined UBC in
2000, has also been recognized as a
UBC Distinguished University
Scholar, a Peter Wall Institute Early
Career Fellow and has received the
Faculty of Science Achievement
Award for Leadership.
Gail Murphy, an associate
professor in the Dept. of Computer
Science, has been recognized for her
contributions to understanding and
reducing problems associated with
evolving large software systems.
Murphy's research involves looking at which system structures best
support the expression, evaluation
and verification of large software
systems, and in helping software
developers manage these structures.
She looks at computer systems to
find patterns of use so that software
to detect developers' patterns of
activity and assist that activity
Murphy, who joined UBC in
1996, is a recipient of a
Dahl-Nygaard Junior Prize from the
Association Internationale pour les
Technologies Objets (AITO) a
European association to promote
the advancement of research in
object-oriented technology, and a
UBC Killam Research Fellowship.
NSERC Steacie Fellowships —
comprising salary support and
research funding — are awarded to
outstanding Canadian university
scientists or engineers, who have
earned their doctorate within the last
12 years, and whose research has
already earned them an international
reputation. For more on the 2006
Steacie Fellowships, visit
UBC chemist wins
Prestigious Killam
Research Fellowship
On Feb. 28, 2006, UBC chemistry
prof. Michael Fryzuk was awarded
one of 10 new Canada Council for
the Arts Killam Research Fellowships
for his research work, "New
Strategies for the Activation of
Molecular Nitrogen."
Among Canada's most
distinguished research awards, the
Killam Research Fellowships enable
Canada's best scientists and scholars
to devote two years to full-time
research and writing.
Made possible by a bequest of
Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam, the awards
support scholars engaged in research
projects of outstanding merit in the
humanities, social sciences, natural
sciences, health sciences, engineering
and interdisciplinary studies within
these fields. □
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The largest structure in Canada certified Gold by the US Green Building
Council is now on the University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus.
The Life Sciences Centre's LEED (Leadership in Environmental Design)
Gold status reflects an extraordinary achievement in green building
practices at The University of British Columbia. From recycled materials
to ongoing energy savings, this home to BC's expanded medical
education program and leading edge research institutes points the way
to a more sustainable future.
Sustainability is a value deeply embedded in UBC's academic vision.
After all, we're home to Prof. William Rees, internationally renowned
for his Ecological Footprint tool, and more than 300 of our courses
have high sustainability components. We have Canada's first
Sustainability Policy for a university, first campus sustainability office,
and we're the only Canadian university to gain Green Campus
recognition from the US Wildlife Federation. We've already met 2012
Kyoto greenhouse gas reductions, and we've saved $8 million in energy
and water costs with innovative retrofits.
The Michael Smith Laboratories, named after UBC's Nobel
Laureate, has achieved a 55 per cent energy reduction. Our Fred
Kaiser Building has been certified LEED Silver. New buildings at our
UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna will be heated and cooled by
geothermal energy.
The pattern or sustainability extends from where we study and
work to where we live. Our emerging University Town in Vancouver is
transforming a commuter campus into a more sustainable live-work-
study community.
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