Faculty and Students Weigh in on the Impacts of COVID-19

From finding solutions to research challenges during the pandemic, to imagining pathways to build more equitable and sustainable economies, socially just communities and safer ecosystems, our faculty and students share their expertise, findings and hopes.

They speak out on topics ranging from the fossil fuel industry, food security, community economic development, pandemic economics, increased risk for marginalized communities (people who use drugs, seniors), climate change, relationships between politicians and scientists and health policies during pandemic, and murals for urban change.

Sustainable Ecosystems

SFU researchers work with Indigenous communities to collect data remotely during COVID-19

May 28, 2020

Summer fieldwork targeting the health of B.C. kelp forests will carry on despite the global pandemic now that applied ecologist, Anne Salomon in the School of Resource and Environmental Management and team and partner First Nations groups have an alternative plan — tapping the benefits of citizen science.


Social Justice

SFU researchers awarded COVID-19 Research Response funding

June 24, 2020

Working alongside health officials, Crooks and Schuurman plan to create maps that use sophisticated analysis techniques to show decision makers where to focus COVID-19 mitigation efforts and interventions. The maps will show where in BC people are vulnerable to developing COVID-19 infections, to experiencing challenges in accessing health care and to experiencing health-related secondary impacts of the pandemic.

Geography's Nadine Schuurman and Valorie Crooks are awarded funding for the COVID-19 response research. Their project was also featured by News 1130



COVID-19 murals express hope and help envision urban futures

June 3, 2020

In Vancouver, B.C., there are three types of new murals: inspirational works of general encouragement and gratitude toward essential workers; informational murals, conveying warnings and advice; and decorative, largely abstract, paintings adding colour to the plywood.

Eugene McCann, an SFU Geography professor, writes an article for the Conversation. 

Spaces of publicness and the world after the Coronavirus crisis

June 1, 2020

"Being public is essential to social and political life. Political counterpublics, including the growing “climate public” and “mutual aid public,” will be part of any just post-Coronavirus future. As the crisis continues, they are building themselves through various spaces and spatialities of publicness."

Eugene McCann, an SFU Geography professor, is featured in Society + Space. 

Time to end profit-making in seniors’ care

April 22, 2020

"The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on serious problems in Canada’s seniors’ care system, as nursing homes quickly became the epicenters of the outbreak. These problems are not only due to the greater vulnerability of seniors to the disease, but also to how care is organized and staffed."

Andrew Longhurst, an SFU PhD candidate of geography, & Kendra Strauss, an SFU associate professor of labour studies, co-write an op-ed.

This op-ed has since been the source of many interviews between Andrew Longhurst, Kendra Strauss and various media outlets including the Times Colonist, the Tyee, Global News and Mornings with Simi.

The importance of relations between politicians and scientists

April 14, 2020

Angela Kaida, an SFU associate professor of health sciences, and Valorie Crooks, an SFU professor of geography, write a feature for the Conversation Canada.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores how importortant it is for scientists and politicians to communicate well and work togetgher more than ever before.

COVID-19 effects hit illegal drug supply, put addicts in danger

April 1, 2020

"The situation poses a danger for people with addiction issues, who may have to find cheaper alternatives or be forced into withdrawal at a time when the province is trying to contain the spread of novel coronavirus" said Valorie Crooks, a Geography professor and health services expert in an interview for Tri-City News.

Climate Change

Climate Change reset: Learning from the Global Pandemic

Joanna Ashworth, director of Professional Programs and Partnerships pioneered a five-part online series looking at the relationship between COVID-19 and climate change. Each session calls upon different industry professionals whom tackle unique topics related to climate change.

Why your reduced carbon footprint from lockdown won't slow climate change

May 23, 2020

Reductions in emissions during pandemic are a drop in the bucket when it comes to atmospheric CO2.

"We have factories, we have vehicles, we have electricity generating plants and we have buildings, and we're not going to be rebuilding them,"

Mark Jaccard, a sustainable energy professor in resource and environmental management, is interviewed.

COVID-19 has laid bare how unprepared we are for crises — and climate change will test us even more

May 5, 2020

In an op-ed featured in CBC News, Thomas Gunton, professor of planning in the School of Resource and Environmental Management reflects: "It’s taken a global, monumental effort but COVID-19 has shown us what’s possible when we collectively act. So why can’t we do the same for climate change?


An Earth Day like no other (PART I) An Earth Day like no other (PART II)

April 22, 2020

Mark Jaccard, sustainable energy professor in resource and environmental management, discusses the ways COVID-19 has affected pollution during this time as well as its implications of Earth Day.

Effect of COVID-19 on climate change (PART I)

Effect of COVID-19 on climate change (PART II)

April 22, 2020

Tom Gunton, planning professor in Resource and Environmental Management, is interviewed on topics relating to climate change and the ways its been affected by COVID-19. 

Pollution is down for 2020 Earth Day

April 22, 2020

Kirsten Zickfeld, Geography professor and a member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and one of the authors on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Global Warming discusses the state of the Earth this Earth day in a c-fax radio interview.

Environmental Impact of Covid-19

April 13, 2020

How has pollution dropped and the environment rebounded since the pandemic? What lessons should we take from this time?  Deborah Harford, executive director, adaptation to climate change team, Simon Fraser University, joined Adam to discuss how COVID-19 has effected the environment and climate change.

A Fast Moving Virus, a Slow Changing Climate

April 7, 2020

When the Great Recession struck in 2008, global emissions dropped for the first time in history. “There was a lot of talk about how the response to the financial crisis could be used to climate effect,” recalls Jaccard. 

Mark Jaccard, sustainable energy professor in resource & environmental management, is interviewed in the Tyee.

Sustainable Economics

Recovery Justice: More than "equality" is needed

June 4, 2020

While we may all experience a severe disruption like Covid-19, we are not all equal in the face of it. Not everyone has the luxury of working from home. Not every business owner has insurance or can equally cope with risks. So everyone starts out at different points of vulnerability in their recovery journey. However, many recovery programs use an equality framing (like programs after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina) which means that resources are spread across as many businesses as possible regardless of need or social context.

Jeremy Stone, of the Community Economic Development program at SFU writes an op-ed.

Good economic recovery does not mean bringing every business back

May 16, 2020

With most major parts of the economy remaining shut two months into the pandemic, and consumer confidence at a record low, modelling what a business might be worth in, say, six months to two years from now is tough.

Jeremy Stone, director of the Community Economic Development program at SFU, writes an op-ed.

Irrational Expectations

April 29, 2020

"However much upheaval the global COVID-19 pandemic has generated, a great deal more is coming. The economic disaster is already the object of frantic analysis, much of which tells us we can expect a bottom that matches or exceeds the Great Depression of the 1930s, at least as measured by conventional economic indicators like GDP, unemployment, and bankruptcies. This narrative provides the backbeat to the competing attempts to organize our attention during the passage through present and future trials."

Geoff Mann, an SFU professor of geography, writes an op-ed.

COVID-19: Robson Street may look different after the pandemic

April 27, 2020

Holden said that post-pandemic, the city will have a “crucial play to make. … We have seen in other cities when they have a big downturn, arts and culture organizations and small businesses have a window to come in if there are programs and opportunities to do so.”

Meg Holden, an SFU professor of urban studies and geography is quoted.

Coronavirus: As provinces mull reopening, experts say borders remain a challenge

April 23, 2020

“Any time you have nearby or neighbouring jurisdictions that have different kinds of regulatory environments, it creates a lot of challenges regarding enforcement,” said Valorie Crooks, a professor of geography at Simon Fraser University who holds the Canada Research Chair in health service geographies.

Valorie Crooks, an SFU professor of geography, is quoted.

Easing COVID-19 restrictions presents challenges between provinces: experts

April 23, 2020

“It raises a whole lot of questions about how you enforce and what kinds of abilities you have to enforce measures you put in place,” she said.

Valorie Crooks, an SFU professor of geography, is quoted.

B.C. great outdoors closed until June

April 20, 2020

According to a study by the School of Resources and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, 50% of British Columbians are involved in some form of outdoor recreation, with hiking, fishing and boating being the top most popular summer activities.

Federal rescue plan for energy sector

April 17, 2020

"It sends an important signal that the federal government doesn't intend to back away from its climate plan but, rather, is inclined to orient relief, and we hope subsequent stimulus efforts, towards activities that are aligned with their climate commitment and will reduce pollution"

Merran Smith, SFU executive director of Clean Energy Canada think tank, is quoted.

How one boutique B.C. farm is getting its produce to consumers

April 8, 2020

"It feels good to support local farmers and their heirloom produce," Soma said.

Tammara Soma, an SFU assistant professor of resource and environmental management, is quoted.

How businesses and communities could recover from COVID-19 (PART I) &  (PART II)

April 8, 2020

Jeremy Stone, SFU director of the Community Economic Development program sits down to discuss the lasting impacts of our state of pandemic on businesses and communities. 

COVID response offers chance to shift direction of Canadian economy: experts

April 5, 2020

“Governments are going to pour the money in, short-term, to where workers are already skilled and to regions where they’re already working,” he said. “So it’s going to be in to fossil fuel-endowed areas.”

Mark Jaccard, an SFU professor of resource and environmental management, is quoted.

COVID-19: Plan for packing your pantry gradually, economically for two weeks

March 31, 2020 

“Rethink the portion sizes,” said Soma. “We often serve too much food. It’s so important for people not to waste food.”

Tammara Soma, an SFU professor of resource and environmental management, weighs in on the importance of smart shopping during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Tiny Virus, Big Picture

March 27, 2020

Geoff Mann, an SFU professor of geography, contributes to the topic of COVID-19's impact on the world with excerpt, The Resurrection of the Welfare State, Big Brother Style. 

COVID 19 crisis puts focus back on farmers: expert

March 27, 2020

“Food and food supply has become a core issue in this crisis and declaring our farmers as essential service providers puts the focus on what they do…their contribution has largely been undervalued because we take food for granted,” said Dr. Soma.

Tammara Soma, an SFU Professor of Resource and Environmental Management is interviewed regarding the dependancy on agriculture, as B.C. government declares food cultivation, including farming, livestock, aquaculture and fishing as essential services, during the current COVID-19 crisis.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on the fossil fuel industry

March 21, 2020

Thomas Gunton, SFU director of the Resource and Environmental Planning Program, discusses the future of oil markets and the energy sector.

Rural insights series on COVID-19

CRRF is producing a series of rural insights on key issues impacting rural communities as they face the challenges of managing the pandemic and look to future recovery. CRRF will be publishing reports through the Rural Insights Series: COVID-19 on a rolling basis throughout 2020.

Sean Markey, an SFU professor of Resource and Environmental Management is a main contributer.