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Audio trailer for the podcast - A taste of what to expect

Video trailer for the podcast - Does an audio-only podcast really need a video trailer? probably not. Did we make one anyways? Yes. Yes we did.

Episode 1: Conservation of Canada's freshwater fishes with Nick Mandrak

For our first episode of Emerging Environments we welcome Conservation Biologist, Dr. Nick Mandrak. Nick is the Director of the Conservation and Biodiversity Stream of the Masters of Environmental Science program at the University of Toronto-Scarborough and is one of the leading experts on Canada’s freshwater fishes. He has authored over 200 scientific publications on topics such as the biology and conservation of endangered fishes, the risks posed by aquatic invasive species, and the actions that need to take place to conserve aquatic biodiversity. In that vein, he’s been heavily involved in Canada’s conservation science organizations and is working to foster the next generation of conservation scientists.

Nick's website:

The MEnvSc program:

Scientists warning on invasive species:

Episode 2: Mapping ecosystem services for conservation planning in Canada with Matt Mitchell & Aerin Jacob

On this episode of the podcast we welcome Dr. Matt Mitchell and Dr. Aerin Jacob. Matt is a landscape ecologist working as a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia. He received his PhD from McGill University in 2014 and has published extensively on a range of topics, including the ecological effects of landscape fragmentation, and the supporting role that biodiversity plays in agricultural productivity. Aerin is a conservation scientist working at the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. Aerin also received her PhD from McGill in 2014, and has published many research papers on the science-policy interface as it relates to environmental management, and the role of spatial planning for protected area creation and management.

Matt and Aerin recently published a scientific article about measuring, mapping and protecting ecosystem services in Canada. So we talked a lot about their research paper, digging into the methods that they used and the implications of their results, but also about the different values that we place on nature, access to nature and the benefits that ecosystems provide, the state of the science for ecosystem services, and the competing demands of conservation and economic development.

Link to the open access article:

Matt's website:

Aerin's website:

Episode #3: Conservation science and policy: a constellation of realization with Justina Ray

In Episode #3 we welcome Dr. Justina Ray. Justina is the President and Senior scientist of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, which is affiliated with global WCS programs around the world. Justina specializes in large mammal conservation in Canada’s north and is significantly active in policy development for species at risk in Canada. Last year she was the inaugural winner of the President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement by the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution. We talked about Justina’s career journey including her early work in conservation through Tropical Ecology research. We also talked about the need for active engagement in policy and broader perspectives on the threats facing biodiversity, the future of conservation in Canada’s north through indigenous-led protected areas and a critical perspective on the role of environmental impact assessments.

Justina's presentation at the Muskoka Biodiversity Summit:

WCS Canada:

The Key Biodiversity Area Initiative:

George Schaller books:

In episode #4, we welcome Dr. Jessica Green, a political scientist and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. We talked about Jessica's early career and her current research on climate governance, non-state actors, private authority and transnational regulation. Jessica is also the author of the book, “Rethinking Private Authority: Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance”.

In addition to talking about the basics of carbon pricing, we focused on two of Jessica's recently published articles, the first on the effectiveness of carbon pricing in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the second on how closing corporate tax loopholes is a mechanism that governments can use to facilitate decarbonization. The conversation was quite timely as the Supreme Court of Canada had just handed down their decision on the constitutionality of the federal price on carbon, so that was fodder for a lively discussion.

Jessica's new article:

Jessica's book:

In episode #5, we explore a local story from southern Ontario involving a proposed development of a wetland habitat in the town of Pickering, the fast tracking of development opportunities in Ontario and recent changes to the role of Conservation Authorities. At the time when this was all taking place, the story got a significant amount of media coverage, which was in large part due to the activism of local youth, such as Devin Mathura, one of our guests in this episode. But many scientists, including Dr. Andrea Kirkwood, who is our other guest today, were also quite vocal about what was happening and were eager to talk about the science of wetland ecosystems and their underappreciated value.

Andrea is an Associate Professor of Biological Science at Ontario Tech University where her research focuses on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems. She has published extensively on a range of topics including water quality of urban wetlands and the functional role of microbial diversity in aquatic systems. She is also actively involved in community-based environmental stewardship initiatives in southern Ontario.

Devin Mathura is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo, where he is enrolled in environment, resources, and sustainability studies. As you’ll hear, he has been actively engaged in local environmental issues for a long time.

We talked about the dual roles of science and advocacy and the need for policy literacy to understand the role and reach of government in both development and conservation. It was great to hear from Devin, who is clearly a passionate emerging leader in sustainability issues, and from Andrea who is teaching and producing the science that can promote evidence-based decision-making for development activities in and around cities.

Andrea's website: Devin on Twitter: @DevinMathura