The Right to REMAIN in Vancouver's Nihonmachi/Downtown Eastside

By Jeff Masuda with Aaron Franks

Originally published 11 March, 2014 online and in print in The Bulletin: a journal of Japanese-Canadian community, history + culture

What’s in a name? This is a question being posed by a team of Vancouver-based community leaders and university researchers that has been actively engaged in conversations with Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents, both past and present, about their experiences of human rights in the neighbourhood. 

The hard won struggle for Community right-to-know: Toronto’s story

by Sarah Miller

For forty years CEHE partner organization the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) has worked to “protect human health and our environment by seeking justice for those harmed by pollution and by working to change policies to prevent such problems in the first place” (  Here Sarah Miller follows the thirty year process that led to a legal breakthrough in the field of environmental health in Toronto.

Bonding Through Bars – Giving Voice to Silenced Children of Incarcerated Mothers

by Kirsten Hargreaves and Samantha Sarra

In August of 2012 the Centre for Environmental Health Equity hosted a pilot project entitled “Knowledge Leader’s in Children’s Environmental Health”. Twenty ambitious leaders from across Canada merged in Vancouver, BC for one intensive week together. It was during this week that Ms. Samantha Sarra and Ms. Kirsten Hargreaves met and joined together in possibility for incarcerated women and their children.

CEHE Summer Sum-Up 2013

by Aaron Franks, CEHE Research Associate
With the Solstice and the Canada Day weekend just behind us, and many people contemplating holidays (maybe even taking some!), we thought the time was right to pause and take stock of what we at the Centre are up to, and offer our readers and collaborators a view of what to expect in the year to come.  
New faces, goodbyes...

"A drop of water in the pool": information and engagement of linguistic communities around a municipal pesticide bylaw to protect the public's health

by Hilary Gibson-Wood

Giving people the opportunity to be involved in decisions that affect their environment and their health, and providing communities with information about public health issues that is accessible and relevant to them, are important ways to help protect public health.  

Community Leader "In-Focus" - a candid interview with Karina Cardona Claros

by Aaron Franks, CEHE Research Associate

1Q. Congratulations Karina, you are featured in Eco-Parent Magazine. In this article you talk about growing up in an environment watching your parents help newcomers to Canada settle in. Is there a specific memory or time that really stands out for you?

Wishing you all the best Tara!

by Jeff Masuda

Effective March 1st, 2013, Tara Zupancic will be concluding her role as Associate Director with The Centre for Environmental Health Equity in order to pursue other career and life opportunities. On behalf of CEHE students, staff, and supporters, I would like to thank Tara for her major contributions to advancing environmental health equity over the past six years.

Early exposures to hazardous pollutants / chemicals and their associations with chronic disease

An upcoming CPCHE webinar series:

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that environmental exposures to toxic substances early in life may be contributing to the burden of chronic disease, alongside known risk factors such as inadequate nutrition, stress, lack of physical activity and the social determinants of health. An upcoming webinar series explores this evidence and its implications for public health policy and practice, including strategies for chronic disease prevention.

The Basic Human Right to a Healthy Environment

An interview with David R. Boyd, Adjunct Professor, Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University.

His recent books, The Environmental Rights Revolution (UBC Press, 2012) and The Right to a Healthy Environment: Revitalizing Canada’s Constitution (UBC Press, 2012), advocate for the protection of both human rights and the environment through constitutional amendments. 

By Trevor Wideman, CEHE Research Intern

Environmental Justice: a local, Canadian case-study

by Leith Deacon

While a number of studies have shown that ethnoracial groups are disproportionately exposed to pollution hazards, particularly among blacks, Hispanics and the poor in the United States, there are much fewer that focus on the processes contributing to environmental injustices.

This paper contributes to the environmental justice literature by exploring local environmental conflict over a pollution hazard (municipal solid waste) to further decipher the process(es) that may perpetuate environmental injustices.

Why we must address the social determinants of health to truly reduce childhood obesity

by Steve Barnes

Childhood obesity is increasing in Ontario and across Canada, and this has caused concern amongst governments, communities, and families. For kids, obesity can also lead to a lifetime of poor health, but by tackling childhood obesity now we can lead kids toward a healthy adulthood.

In Canada:

Urban intensification in Winnipeg: policy barriers to social equity

by Trevor Wideman

In the current era of neoliberal urbanism, cities around the world have been searching for “quick-fix” solutions to urban problems, and a common issue in many cities is providing housing for growing populations.

Playground Accessibility and Neighbourhood Social Interaction Among Parents

by Scott A. Bennet, Nikolaos Yiannakoulias, Allison M. Williams, Peter Kitchen

While the positive association between social interaction and access to green space (in a broad sense) is well accepted, little research has sought to understand how different forms of green space - such as sports fields, playgrounds and community gardens- facilitate social interaction within a community. 

Announcing a New Research Partnership on Human Rights and Place in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

by Jeff Masuda

I first became interested in the Downtown Eastside when I moved to Vancouver in 2007. Living in the city for the first time motivated me to learn more about my own family’s history in the area of the area formerly known as Japantown. My great grandfather came to Canada in the early 20th century to find work as a skilled carpenter.

The Natural City? What do kids think?

by Sarah King

I used to spend my summers playing in the woods with children. Every year, summer camps welcome children out from their urban and suburban lives into a new universe, the forested domain of toads, spiders, salamanders and snapping turtles. Time spent in nature is important for children’s wellbeing – not only for their physical health, but for their mental and emotional health as well. 

The Centre for Environmental Health Equity congratulates Joyce Rock, inaugural recipient of the 2011 3M Health Nexus Leadership Award

by Jeff Masuda

Joyce's longstanding commitments and contributions to the health and social justice aspirations of the community that inhabits Vancouver's Downtown Eastside exemplifies the spirit of this new award in advancing the social determinants of health to inspire change in communities across Canada.

The Power Struggle of Space and Race.

An interview with Cheryl Teelucksingh, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Ryerson University

by Julie Rempel

Q: How do we address and challenge systemic racism in Canada when a great deal of the population believes racism no longer exists?

A: Canada’s unique history of immigration and the ideology of multiculturalism have led to a relationship between race, ethnicity and immigrant status which are key to understanding the hidden and latent nature of racial oppression in Canada.

Women and food insecurity: why women should lead food policy

by Jenna Drabble

In 2001, 9.2% of Canadian households were food insecure, most of which depended on social assistance as the primary source of income. In Manitoba women are more likely to live in poverty than men and therefore face the highest risk of food insecurity.

Aboriginal women with children living off reserve are among one of the most vulnerable groups, with one in two reporting food insecurity, revealing the gendered as well as racialized nature of food insecurity in our society.

Babies damaged by women’s lifestyle choices?

by Tara Zupancic

Research and the media – it‘s a powerful partnership.  News media outlets often determine whether a research study gathers attention or dust. But sometimes the media makes such blunders that more harm than good results. For example, yesterday I read a news report on a Scottish study’s findings of significantly lower levels of DNA methylation during the embryonic development of babies living in socioeconomically deprived areas of Glasgow. 

New research on Canadian environmental organizations; We need to talk about “Just Sustainability”

by Randolph Haluza-DeLay and Heather Fernhout

In most people's minds, the environment is associated with “nature”. However, this mindset  may be a barrier to bridging with other sorts of progressive movements. In particular, as our recent research shows, there is a lack  of interest by Canadian environmental groups over the concerns for “social inclusion” that are at the heart of other civil society organizations.

Fresh produce, food banks, food security – exploring the links for healthy people and healthy communities

by Lynette Hornung

Having nurtured a burgeoning passion for growing, preparing and sharing food in recent years, (while also feeling the tension between living on a meagre income but benefitting from a position of privilege based on my education and skin colour), colleagues, friends and family should be unsurprised that my graduate studies prompted me to question the intersection of local food production, nutritional health, and food insecurity.

Director Bruce Mohun talks to CEHE about the origins of his new documentary: Programmed to be Fat?

I first heard the word ‘obesogens’ two years ago from a colleague, who had been trolling the web in search of stories.    “They’re chemicals that make us fat,” she said.  “Come on; we’re fat because we eat too much and we don’t exercise enough.”   “Well there’s this guy called Blumberg…”  Bruce Blumberg coined the term ‘obesogens’ in 2005, after getting the results of a ground-breaking study of pregnant lab mice fed a marine pesticide called tributyltin.

Environmental Justice in Canada: an interview with Dr. Michael Buzzelli

by Julie Rempel

What can citizens and researchers do to both raise awareness of and address environmental justice in decision making?

Promoting Dialogue on EcoHealth: Student Opportunities

If you are a student of EcoHealth or environment and health, you may be interested in this opportunity to write and share your ideas through the EcoHealth Journal.  In a new proposed section called "Dialogues", students will have an opportunity to share brief articles and commentaries on a particular topic of interest .  The write-up will then be responded to by other EcoHealth professionals and  hopefully spark some lively and interesting discussion. But they want to hear from you by December 1st!

Revolutionizing How we Feed Cities

by Peter Ladner, Author

People ask me why, after 40 years in journalism, including 20-something years publishing a weekly business newspaper I co-founded, then 6 years on Vancouver City Council, I wrote a book about urban food systems. One reason is that I’ve always been passionate about growing food in my own garden, but a bigger reason is I’ve become obsessed with the positive benefits and urgent importance of bringing more local, fresh, affordable food into our lives.

At the Margins and in Deep: the need to prioritize equity for children’s environmental health

by Tara Zupancic

Children lead complicated lives. They are profoundly shaped by their environment and yet, simultaneously, have little control over it. Their food, home, school, neighborhood and play spaces set a critical cast for their well-being and they depend on the collective vision of grown-ups for how it all pans out.   If it takes a village to raise a child, what is the legacy we have created in Canada?

Fighting Energy Poverty While Reducing GHG Emissions

by  Marc Lee, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Co-Director of the CCPA's Climate Justice Project.

If BC is going to meet its climate action targets, the province needs to shift away from natural gas and rely instead on clean electricity. Coupled with aggressive conservation and energy efficiency investments, this transition could be the source of new green jobs, particularly in the residential housing sector. 

Environmental Racism in Canada?

by Alexander (Sandy) Miller 

The study of environmental racism (ER) is the examination of how environmental inequalities within human populations are related to race. ER was first recognized in the U.S. and developed as a concept to explain the phenomenon whereby racial minorities were found to live in closer proximity to environmental burdens, such as polluting industries and waste disposal sites, than non-racial minorities.

Making space for teenagers in the mix

by Mike Bulthuis

Before the uncertain journey that brought me to my dissertation question, I had mostly been thinking about questions related to how the city is experienced by ‘at risk’ youth, particularly a street-involved population.

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