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Research up close

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Leave the Pack Behind research program helps young adults to quit smoking, January 14, 2016

“I’m not a smoker. I just have a few cigarettes when I’m at a party or when I’m trying to relax on the weekend.”

“Yeah, I smoke sometimes, but I’ll quit later, after I get my degree.”

“I’m a smoker and I know I need to stop, but it’s really tough and I don’t know how to do it.”

For these young adults, health researcher Kelli-an Lawrance and her colleagues at the Leave The Pack Behind program are offering a daring way to kick off the new year.

It’s a six-week contest, opening Jan. 25, that challenges participants to change their smoking behaviours at various levels. Registration for the contest closes at midnight on Jan. 24.

“We’re giving people a really powerful trigger and motivator to quit,” says Lawrance, associate professor in Brock’s Department of Health Sciences. “They can win big money prizes and know they’re with a community of other people who are trying to quit at the same time as them.”

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Brock University expert says consume less if we're serious about climate change, December 16, 2015

Lost in the discussion of the recent Paris climate change conference was a big environment-damaging elephant: a global system that encourages us to buy more and more stuff, says a Brock University expert on consumerism’s impact on the environment.

“Indeed, economic growth as the heart of our economic system did not seem to be challenged but instead there was a lot of discussion of what alternatives could facilitate business-as-usual economic growth,” says Jennifer Good, Associate Professor of Communication, Popular Culture and Film at Brock University.

Good says there’s a certain irony about the COP21 climate change conference beginning on the same day as Cyber Monday, a day when consumers spent over $2.2 billion. The production of many consumer goods eat up valuable resources and emit pollution, she says.

The Brock professor monitored the transcripts of North American television news networks including ABC, CBS, CNBC, CNN, CTV, Fox, MSNBC and NBC from November 1 – 27, 2015 and found that ‘COP21’ was mentioned or discussed 74 times and ‘Cyber Monday’ 157 times. However, ‘economic growth’ blew both away with 1,510 mentions or discussions, Good says.

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Scientist examines what fuels the climate change skeptics, October 30, 2015

Last weekend, the strongest hurricane ever recorded slammed the coast of Mexico. So far in 2015, seven out of nine months have broken global heat records. Ancient glaciers are vanishing in the Rockies. Most of California hasn’t had rain in years.

Even as the list of serious climate change impacts keeps growing, scientists still encounter people who refuse to consider that it is at least partly caused by human emission of greenhouse gases.

Brock University biologist and psychologist Gary Pickering set out to gauge skepticism among English Canadians when it comes to climate change. His pilot study, “Head in the (oil) sand? Climate skepticism in Canada”, was published this month in the Journal of Environmental and Social Sciences.

Pickering, a member of Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, conducted an online survey in which 229 Canadian households agreed or disagreed with a range of statements on whether or not climate change is real, if it is related to human activity, if reports about it are exaggerated and if people feel a personal obligation to do something about it.

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