Whisky barrels and whales: Finding optimism in a low-carbon economy, in London, UK
Ensuring sustained economic growth while minimising environmental impact is a global challenge. Access to affordable energy has reduced poverty by more than a half since 1990, and yet approximately 1 billion people still live without access to the most basic energy services. Moreover, the rest of us need to face the mounting evidence on the negative impacts of our energy use (poor air quality, climate change, geopolitical instability, etc.) However, and despite the bad news, there is cause for optimism: UBC is the first Canadian university with a sustainability policy, and its research and innovation are leading the way to a low-carbon economy.
The energy transition will require political will, significant investment, and above all, clarity of thought. In this talk, Walter Mérida, Director, UBC's Clean Energy Research Centre; Associate Dean of Research and Industrial Partnerships; Professor, UBC Department of Mechanical Engineering, will describe the challenges and opportunities in sustainable energy systems. He will provide a few examples of UBC’s world-leading research on some of the enabling technologies including renewable energy, hydrogen technologies, and advanced electric vehicle infrastructure. These new technologies can enable urban assets to become active participants in city-scale energy management schemes. The new technologies, services and business models may enable cities to go beyond zero impact: providing a net benefit to human and planetary wellbeing.
Recorded November 1, 2018, at The Royal Society in London, UK.
Other Episodes in this Series
Canada has a reputation for being a welcoming destination for new immigrants and refugees. However, this reputation is not always reflected in the reality these newcomers face in British Columbia.
On March 10, 2020, Dean Blye Frank, UBC Faculty of Education, hosted a special talk and panel discussion on mental health, featuring Humble The Poet. Humble The Poet (Kanwer Singh) is a former school teacher turned into a best-selling author, hip-hop artist, designer, filmmaker, influencer and public speaker in the area of education, leadership and self-development. He has authored two best sellers that are thematised around mental wellbeing.
Recorded March 10, 2020, at UBC Robson Square in Vancouver, BC.
One million species around the world are at risk of extinction—many in the next few decades. Hear from world-class researchers, hosted by 2011 MacArthur Fellow Sarah Otto, as they outline the recent science and pinpoint conservation approaches that work.
Margaret Trudeau is a Canadian icon, celebrated both for her role in the public eye and as a respected mental-health issues advocate. From becoming a prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bipolar disorder, Margaret tirelessly shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit. Recorded June 5, 2019, at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in Vancouver, BC.
Wildfire is an essential process in forest ecosystems, but can be incredibly destructive in the wildland-urban interface. Wildfire is driven by climate, weather and fuels that vary among ecosystems and through time. The combination of land-use change, fire exclusion and global warming have made many forests highly susceptible to intense fires that are difficult to control and contain. Revolutionizing forest and fire management will improve ecosystem resilience to climate change, but we will not stop future fires from burning.
What is the basis of addiction? Hear from internationally renowned UBC alumnus, author, speaker, and leading expert on addictions and trauma, Dr. Gabor Maté, CM, BA’68, MD’77, as he presents "The Hungry Ghost: A Biopsychosocial Perspective on Addiction, from Heroin to Workaholism".
Throughout his career, including his three terms as mayor of the City of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi has always emphasized the importance of civic engagement. Hear his talk "Creating the Cities and Country We Deserve."
The world seems more divided than ever. Social media has made it easy to follow like-minded individuals, creating echo chambers where dissenting opinions can be filtered out. As our viewpoints have grown more polarized, conversations between opposing sides – online or in person – have become more heated. This environment has enabled populist movements to rise and hashtag activism to thrive. Are these divisions new, or have they just become more visible? How can we overcome the most cynical manifestations of anger, such as name-calling and tribalistic thinking?
Headlines have linked the decline of Southern resident killer whales to just about everything—noise, shipping, toxins, whale watching and fishing. But are these the real threats to the survival of this iconic species? Hear from UBC marine mammal researcher Andrew Trites as he separates facts and research from popular assumptions.
What would a healthier and more respectful view of masculinity look like? What will it take to change attitudes and behaviours in the current generation and what steps do we need to take to ensure our children develop healthy ideas around masculinity?
Want a preview of what your future may look like? How are your aging parents or grandparents living their elder years? Will you age the same way? While aging is inevitable for us all, there are steps we can take to help our loved ones, and ourselves, lead longer, healthier, and more independent lives. Hear from UBC Faculty of Medicine Executive Associate Dean Roger Wong and Professor Janice Eng, as well as UBC alumni and friends in Hong Kong, as they have an important conversation about healthy aging.
In April 2016, BC declared a public health emergency in response to the rapid rise of fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses in the province. Since then, the problem has only worsened, with the number of overdose deaths in 2017 exceeding 2016’s totals by a significant margin. What are the factors contributing to this crisis and what are the consequences of this increase in drug use and addiction? How can we support individuals at higher risk and can changes to policy mitigate overdose risk?
Vancouver has developed a reputation as a difficult place to raise kids. The high cost of childcare - for those who can find a spot - and the difficulty finding suitable housing have led many prospective parents to delay starting a family or explore alternatives, such as life in the suburbs. Those who choose to have kids in Vancouver often end up making sacrifices in their careers, lifestyles, or financial situations to make it work.