Rachel Stern (she/her) is a MA student in the Department of Geography at UBC, co-supervised by Mohammed Rafi Arefin (Geography) and Leila Harris (IRES). Her research looks at the relationship between housing justice and climate justice, particularly focusing on the impact of climate change-induced extreme weather on vulnerable tenants in Vancouver, British Columbia. This research is part of a wider community partnership and project with the Centre for Climate Justice (CCJ) and with the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC). Drawing on urban political ecology, climate justice, housing justice, and critical disaster studies, her work looks at how vulnerable tenants experienced the 2021 heat dome, how they conceptualize their climate vulnerability in the wake of this event, and how this data can contribute to more effective and informed advocacy efforts in both housing and climate advocacy work. She is also interested in the role of memory politics, storytelling, oral histories, and arts-based methodologies in articulating experiences of climate and housing justice and injustice.
She was born and raised in New York City (ancestral homeland of the Lenape) and has always been interested by urban land and relationship to place. As a recent settler on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, she is interested in how land rights and urban articulations of power and place intersect in Vancouver. Rachel holds a B.A. in Individualized Study from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University where she concentrated in Environmental Justice, Conflict and Cooperation and minored in Peace and Conflict Studies.