The Climate Crisis in Urban Biodiversity (CCUB) initiative aims to mobilize the next generation of students to take actions that yield scalable solutions towards the interconnected crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, food systems and wellbeing. Applying an inclusive research design and engagement model, CCUB fosters community-based and applied research collaborations with students, faculty, staff and community partners to inform related policies and practices that accelerate action towards eco-human health and wellbeing in the climate emergency.
BY PARTICIPATING IN A CCUB COLLABORATION, YOU CAN:
- Join a well-established interdisciplinary campus network and contribute to applied student research and initiatives that can generate scalable solutions towards the interconnected issues of nature and human health and wellbeing
- Strengthen your knowledge of challenges and solutions that promote eco-human health and wellbeing in the climate emergency from diverse disciplines and perspectives
- Help inform and advance UBC’s climate, biodiversity and wellbeing policies, plans, and practices
- Grow your network and make connections with campus operational practitioners, faculty, students and community partners
(pictured above): A group of students researching strategies to reduce bird-building collisions at the UBC Botanical Garden found that leaving windows dirty helped to prevent the frequency of bird-window collisions (in addition to using bird-friendly decals and other forms of window protection.
(pictured above): Students from Land and Food Systems engaged with UBC Wellbeing and the UBC Food Security Initiative to inform next steps in the development of the UBC Vancouver Community Food Hub. Student research provided recommendations into promising practices for personnel, organizational models and decision making to support increased food security and overall wellbeing in alignment with UBC’s food security targets, and community input on food accessibility and affordability of climate-friendly food options and access to healthy food on the Vancouver Campus in light of the Climate Emergency Declaration.
(pictured above): First year Biology students are surveying areas of campus in order to baseline species richness and calculate the biodiversity index. The data gathered will support UBC in achieving related climate and biodiversity targets.
CCUB was launched in the Fall of 2019 by the SEEDS Sustainability Program in collaboration with the Faculties of Arts, Forestry, Science and other partners across campus and the region. The initiative builds upon previous work achieved by the CCUB Steering Committee from 2019 to 2021, funded by the Provost’s Office - Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) Fund. It is supported by the UBC Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), and brings additional focus to interconnections of eco-human health and wellbeing, as we strive towards solutions to the global challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change, food systems and wellbeing.
WHO WE ARE
CCUB’s Steering Committee provides direction for the initiative and offers an interdisciplinary perspective. The Committee guides and identifies opportunities to achieve CCUB’s vision through applied student-led research opportunities and partnerships, community engagement, and informing related policies and practices.
Action Teams serve as engaged experts of CCUB Steering Committee members and other partners who support student research and collaborations between staff, faculty and students that can accelerate transitions towards nature-positive food systems, nature-inclusive urban planning and design, climate-resilient biodiverse campus ecosystems and more. CCUB’s Bird-Friendly Action (BFAT) is a group of engaged experts and stakeholders from UBC and other partners who collaborate to advance bird conservation through interdisciplinary partnerships and applied student research that can inform nature-inclusive urban planning and design on campus.
CCUB has mobilized the next generation of students to take actions toward eco- human health and wellbeing in the climate emergency that yield scalable solutions towards the interconnected crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, sustainable food systems and wellbeing.
CCUB co-creates interdisciplinary networks of students, faculty, staff and community partners that enables impactful and inclusive demand-driven student research that informs policies and practices that accelerate action towards eco- human health and wellbeing in the climate emergency.
1. Expand student-led applied research and experiential learning on intersectional issues of biodiversity loss, climate change, food systems and wellbeing.
2. Create and scale interdisciplinary partnerships of UBC students, faculty, staff and community partners that support impactful collaborations and generate innovative solutions to interconnected crises of biodiversity loss, climate change, sustainable food systems and wellbeing.
3. Inform and accelerate action on campus policies, plans and practices pertaining to biodiversity, climate, food and wellbeing strategic priorities.
4. Develop scalable knowledge exchange and mobilization resources to advance action on biodiversity loss, climate change, sustainable food systems and wellbeing at UBC and beyond.
research focus areas
RESEARCH FOCUS AREA 1:CLIMATE-RESILIENT BIODIVERSE CAMPUS ECOSYSTEMS
Advance resilient campus ecosystems and greenspaces that support climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity, connectivity and human health and wellbeing.
- A campus natural asset baseline that quantifies the contributions of UBC’s natural assets to a range of ecological and socio-cultural services
- A community-driven process to inform the development of the Adaptation, Resilience and Biodiversity Strategy for climate action through nature-based solutions (e.g. co-define climate principles to advance climate change mitigation and adaptation, eco-human health and wellbeing, and biodiversity metrics as a key indicator of climate resilience on campus)
- A UBC Campus Climate Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessment to inform planning and implementation of Climate Action Plan 2030 and Campus Vision 2050 Adaptation, Resilience and Adaptation
RESEARCH FOCUS AREA 2: NATURE-INCLUSIVE URBAN PLANNING & DESIGN
To protect nature and biodiversity through urban planning and design in the UBC built and landscape environments that actively seeks opportunities to support and create habitat while also reducing harmful wildlife-infrastructure interactions.
- Threats and Vulnerability Assessment of species at risk and campus habitat baseline classification of vulnerable mammal and bird species
- Inform the development and implementation of an enhanced UBC Bird-Friendly Design Guidelines for Buildings
- UBC Bird-Friendly Action Team created to inform policies and practices that advance bird conservation on campus through interdisciplinary partnerships and student research
RESEARCH FOCUS AREA 3: CONNECTED PEOPLE & NATURE FOR RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
Understand and advance connections between climate-resilient human and natural communities, with a focus on marginalized communities (including BIPOC and other equity-seeking communities) including access to greenspace for health and wellbeing, such as fostering eco-hope and addressing climate heat-impacts.
- Deliver community-driven Interdisciplinary Knowledge Exchange Workshops (IKEWs) to build capacity for mental health, resilience and community care strategies on campus through the climate emergency
- Campus landscape and design applications that foster urban green equity and climate-resilient human and natural communities on campus
RESEARCH FOCUS AREA 4: JUST, SECURE, NATURE-POSITIVE FOOD SYSTEMS
Strengthen campus community food security, food justice, and food system resilience in the climate emergency. Advance climate justice and biodiversity in food systems and supply chains beyond campus through UBC procurement guidelines, policies and plans.
- Draft Climate-Friendly Food System (CFFS) actions to support just, sovereign and resilient communities and promote resilient and regenerative food systems (e.g. to inform the UBC CFFS Procurement Guidelines, supply chains, policies and practices)
- Advance nature-positive food systems in the UBC built and landscape environment to support community food security (e.g. community and pollinator gardens)
key accomplishments at a glance
Since CCUB’s inception in Fall 2019, key accomplishments include:
- Formalized governance structure includes a CCUB Strategic Plan, an interdisciplinary CCUB Steering Committee , and two supporting Action Teams to advance objectives launched. Working together these groups provide an interdisciplinary perspective to co-create impactful and inclusive student research opportunities for accelerating action on climate change and urban biodiversity loss and informing related policies and practices.
- Co-curricular and curricular research streams launched to engage students in applied research and actions to tackle issues about urban biodiversity in a changing climate.
Curricular Pathways for Engagement
- 391 undergraduate students engaged through the curriculum in completed or active projects
- Four faculties engaged, including Forestry, Applied Science, Arts, and Science.
- 49 research projects launched in 19 courses that tackle climate change and urban biodiversity loss together, spanning the influence of arboreal diversity in carbon storage in urban forests, literature review and policy scan to assess the impact of climate change on biodiversity at UBC’s Vancouver Campus, climate actions, urban forestry and mapping campus landscape change, and social and ecological values of the UBC landscape.
- Curriculum Asset Map of UBC courses that pertain to biodiversity and climate change developed
- Curricular pathways for engaging students in applied research on biodiversity in a changing climate commenced in Urban Forestry and are being and being explored in the Faculty of Arts.
- Multi-year partnerships established with courses to integrate student-led applied research on urban biodiversity in a changing climate, including Land and Food Systems (450), Science (505 and 510), Urban Forestry (101, 300, 401), Geography (309 and new 300-level) and Psychology (421), with strategies to expand to other curricula across UBC faculties.
- Student-led research launched: ecosystem services including cultural values, the resiliency of biodiversity in a time of climate change, climate policies and plans that intersect with biodiversity interests and priorities on UBC’s Vancouver Campus, wellbeing, equitable participation and inclusion of historically marginalized groups that have not been traditionally considered in the climate and biodiversity conversations.
Co-Curricular Pathways for Engagement
- Seven co-curricular research projects launched that tackle climate change and urban biodiversity loss together, spanning carbon sequestration, benefits provided by UBC Vancouver’s urban trees in terms of a select suite of ecosystem services specific to mitigating climate change effects, human-wildlife conflicts, tree and shrub inventory to consider the broader campus urban forest and associated suite of socio-ecological benefits to inform future decision-making and development, and a cluster of mapping projects that shows the changes in vegetation cover and infrastructure on campus, and evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on the campus when coupled with these changes to green space distribution. Those projects have brought considerations to inform UBC policy and planning work.
- Launched a series of Interdisciplinary Knowledge Exchange Workshops (IKEW), where historically, persistently, or systematically marginalized student groups collaborated with faculty, staff, other students, and community partners to co-develop solutions for accelerating action on climate change and urban biodiversity loss through local research projects, including:
Urban Climate Justice Interdisciplinary Knowledge Exchange Workshops” (IKEWS):
The first IKEW - Urban Climate Justice, co-hosted with the UBC Climate Hub, over 50 students, faculty, and staff registered for the event. It was an inclusive and interdisciplinary workshop to elicit input on what climate justice means to the UBC community, bridge concepts of “justice” (human and nature’s rights). Workshop outcomes included preliminary input to inform community-driven climate justice definitions, future student research, and the advancement of UBC’s climate commitments.
Transforming Eco-anxiety into Hope and Action for Nature: Changing Climate and Wellbeing Workshop
Co-hosted with the UBC Climate Hub, it was an art-based approach, inclusive and interdisciplinary workshop. The second online IKEW explored individual and collective actions that could help manage anxiety and other mental health/ community wellbeing challenges and advance sustainability actions on UBC campus.
- Collaborations formed with the Undergraduate Research Office, UBC Climate Hub, Biodiversity Research Centre, Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC Botanical Garden, UBC Farm, Planning + Design, Campus + Community Planning, Climate Hub, UNA Community Gardens, AMS, and the Faculty of Arts, Forestry, Sciences, Land and Food Systems, Applied Science and Institute for Resources and Environment.
- Informed development of tools to support student research, professional development, and curricular integration of biodiversity and climate change topics
- Green Career Toolkit
- Biodiversity in a Changing Climate Toolkit
READY TO CONNECT AND EXPLORE A CCUB COLLABORATION?
Please get in touch if you have questions or want to get involved in CCUB.
Applied Research Coordinator, Climate Crisis in Urban Biodiversity (CCUB) | SEEDS Sustainability Program