Listen below, or find the podcast on your favourite podcatcher!

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.

#15 The puzzle of global climate policy: reflections on COP26 with Raul Salas Reyes

Welcome to our 2nd COP26 episode where we’re speaking with researchers involved in the climate science and policy landscape. For this episode we’re speaking with Raul Salas Reyes. Raul, who attended this year’s COP, is a senior PhD candidate in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at UTSC. He is currently researching the evolution of the differential treatment norm in the international climate policy regime. This norm is embedded within the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC. Raúl has been working in climate governance and transparency issues for more than a decade where he has assisted developing and developed countries in meeting their obligations under the UNFCCC.

COP26 received a huge amount of media attention and climate change awareness is at an all time high. In this episode, we take a look at the history of international climate change policy and how we got to where we are now. Raul also shares his perspective on this year’s COP - on the successes, for example the strong role that science played at this COP, and the disappointments, such as the last-minute revision of the coal phase-out commitment. He also discussed what he sees as emerging issues that will likely be front-and-centre at COP27.

Raul on Twitter: @raul_climate

#14 Detection and attribution of climate change: the science of the 6th IPCC report with Nathan Gillett

Although we’re taking a break while we get ready for Season 2 of the podcast, we wanted to shine a light on the science of the recently published 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as the COP26 meeting that’s taking place this week in Glasgow scotland for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. So, we are releasing a couple of special episodes dedicated to the climate change conversation.

In this episode, we are chatting with one of the leading experts in the field of detection and attribution, Nathan Gillett. Nathan is a senior research scientist with The Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, B.C., where he uses observational data sets, climate model output and statistical techniques to examine and quantify the human contribution to the climate changes we observe. He is a convening lead author on Chapter 3 of the most recent IPCC report: Human Influence on the Climate System and has also been a chapter lead author on the previous Fifth Assessment Report and on the WMO Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.

In this interview, Nathan shares his insights on the most recent IPCC report and his optimistic perspective on the future.

The 6th IPCC Assessment report:

#13 The emerging ecology of cities with Marc Cadotte

For this final episode of the first season of the podcast, we're speaking with with Professor Marc Cadotte. Marc completed his PhD in Ecology at the University of Tennessee in 2006. Following some postdoctoral work at the University of California, he joined the Department of Biological Science at U of T-Scarborough. Throughout his academic career Marc has been a prolific researcher, receiving several awards for his work. Recently, he has been named, on more than one occasion, as one of the top 1% most-cited scientists in the field of Ecology. And as a result of his impact as a scholar, he was recently appointed to the Royal Society’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, which honours research excellence and academic leadership.

Marc’s research group focuses on a number of topics, including the ways that biodiversity affects how ecosystems function and how biological invasions can disrupt those functions. More recently, he has been focused on how these questions play out in urban ecosystems. In that regard, he is leading a global network of researchers that are collaborating to examine these questions in different urban centres around the world. Marc has also been highly involved in academic publishing, first as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Ecology for several years, and now as the editor-in-chief of the new journal Ecological Solutions and Evidence.

In our chat with Marc, we talked about his exciting new research which straddles the worlds of ecology, human health and environmental management. We also spoke about the unique mission of his new journal, the significance of interdisciplinary science and broadly about the academic publishing landscape. It was a pleasure to speak with Marc about his stellar career, and learn about his trajectory from the fundamentals of ecological theory to applied research for urban sustainability. Thanks for joining us for this first season of the podcast. Stay tuned for season 2 early next year! (There may be a few special episodes released later this Fall). Marc's website:

Marc on Twitter: @urban_sci

Articles discussed:

#12 Prescribing a dose of nature with Melissa Lem

For episode #12, we speak with Dr. Melissa Lem, who is a family physician located in Vancouver, a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia and the president elect of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the environment. Melissa started her career as a physician in northern BC, and then moved to Toronto where she started to explore the scientific evidence that examines the link between human health and exposure to nature. Melissa is now leading a new initiative among Canada’s health care providers as the Director of the PaRx program, which encourages physicians to formally prescribe time in nature to their patients. This program has emerged from the overwhelming evidence of the many health benefits that humans get from nature. As you’ll hear us talk about with Melissa, time in nature affects both our physical and psychological well-being in many ways. And here, nature can be something like the deep forests of a provincial park or even something as simple as tending to your own garden.

With Melissa we unpack exactly what’s meant by a prescription for nature, where physicians can prescribe a dose of nature and encourage patients to seek a mindful connection with those spaces. We also talked about the connection between the PaRx program and Melissa’s work in the Canadian Association of Physicians for the environment, or CAPE for short, which is focused on the connections between human health and environmental sustainability. It was a pleasure to chat with Melissa about these initiatives, and hear about the evidence that shows how we can benefit from time in nature. Enjoy!

Melissa on Twitter: @Melissa_Lem


Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment:

#11 Risk & resilience: coral reefs under climate change with Simon Donner

In episode 11, we speak with Dr. Simon Donner, a climatologist and Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia. Simon’s research focuses on the impact of climate change on coral reef ecosystems. Simon also studies the intersection between climate change, marine science and public policy and is actively involved in research and outreach related to sea-level rise and climate change adaptation in small island developing states in the Pacific.

We spoke with Simon about the role that coral reefs play both regionally and globally and what it’s like conducting field work in the Republic of Kiribati in the Central Pacific. It is abundantly clear how much Simon values science communication and public engagement, and he is committed to informing decision-making aimed at avoiding dangerous climate change. At the end of our conversation, we discussed Simon’s new role as a member of the Government of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body. This is a newly established body, so stay tuned for their upcoming recommendations.

Simon's website:

Simon's website:

#10 Climate change storytelling with Ian Mauro

For our 10th episode, we sit down with Ian Mauro, an environmental scientist, film-maker, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Winnipeg and the Executive Director of the Prairie Climate Centre. Ian wears many hats and is involved in a variety of Canadian climate change science and advocacy initiatives. We spoke with Ian about his connection to the north and how he got into film-making. Ian specializes in community-based research and climate change communication and uses film to tell stories about the impacts of climate change, particularly health impacts in northern Indigenous communities. We also spoke with Ian about the work of the Prairie Climate Centre, including their flagship project, the Climate Atlas of Canada, and the ongoing evolution of climate services in the prairies. Enjoy!

Ian's film Beyond Climate:

The Climate Atlas of Canada:

The Prairie Climate Centre:

Ian's recently published article about Indigenous perspectives on climate change:

#9 The future is interdisciplinary: AI applications for sustainable development with Patrick Keys and Elizabeth Barnes.

In episode #9, we speak with Drs. Patrick Keys and Elizabeth Barnes of Colorado State University. Patrick is a lead research scientist in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability where his work focuses on a broad range of global sustainability challenges, including climate change impacts, anthropocene risks, and social-ecological teleconnections. Pat is a true interdisciplinary scientist and in our conversation we talk about the rewards and challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration.

Elizabeth (or Libby) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science. Her award-winning research focuses on large-scale atmospheric and climate dynamics including jet-stream dynamics, Arctic-midlatitude connections, and subseasonal-to-decadal prediction of weather and climate. She is also very excited about data science methods for the earth sciences and her research group is developing a lot of innovative work in this area.

Our conversation with Pat and Libby is primarily about a recent paper on the human footprint index that they co-authored along with their collaborator Neil Carter. A quick note about the conversation: Pat and Libby are collaborators, and they are also married, so the nature of the conversation definitely reflects these two dimensions of their relationship.

Pat & Libby's new article:

Pat's website:

Libby's website:

#8 From Yellowstone to Yukon with Jodi Hilty

In episode #8 we speak with Dr. Jodi Hilty. Jodi is the President and Chief Scientist of the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Initiative. She is a wildlife corridor ecologist and conservationist with over 20 years of experience managing large-scale conservation programs. She has co-edited or been lead author on four books, the most recent of which is titled Corridor Ecology: Linking Landscapes for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Adaptation, which was published in 2019. She currently serves as Deputy Chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Connectivity Committee. Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains, she has a deep rooted passion for protecting the species and the ecosystems in the Y2Y region.

We spoke with Jodi about the scope of Y2Y, her contributions to international planning efforts for ecological connectivity and the nature of large scale conservation initiatives. Y2Y exemplifies big picture thinking for conservation, and it was fascinating to hear about how their work brings together landscape ecology and management partnerships for biodiversity conservation. Jodi's passion for her work is contagious, and she is a clear leader in strategic planning for the future of Conservation in North America. We hope you enjoy our chat!


IUCN Guidelines for conserving connectivity through ecological networks and corridors:

#7 Entangled empathy: the ethics of wild animal conservation with Emma Marris

In episode #7, we speak with environmental journalist, Emma Marris, whose new book, titled Wild Souls - Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World, is being published on June 29th (see link below). Emma has been writing about environmental issues for over 20 years in publications such as the journal Nature, National Geographic, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and many others. A common thread that runs through much of her writing is a critical perspective on what we mean by the terms nature and wilderness. Her new book explores the philosophical and ethical questions that arise when thinking about the responsibility that humans have for conserving the planet’s biodiversity. To develop the book, Emma travelled around the world, immersing herself in the work and practices of both conservation scientists and Indigenous Peoples in order to gain perspective on the various ways that we conceive of the natural world.

In our conversation we talked about the idea of ecological integrity, and whether or not it’s an appropriate measure or guiding principle for conservation, especially given the expected range shifts that species will undergo as a result of climate change, but also because of the historical and ethical baggage that surround the idea. The topic of environmental ethics runs through the entirety of Emma’s book, and we explored the idea in speaking about the role of zoos in conservation and the ethical quandaries that arise in the management of introduced species. We also spoke about how individuals and organizations involved in conservation can process and account for the ethical issues that arise when we try to rectify our impacts on the world’s biodiversity.

Emma’s new book, Wild Souls, is fantastic, as is her previous work "Rambunctious Garden", so please pick them up!

Buy Wild Souls:

Emma's Website:

Emma's TED talk:

#6 Conservation through Reconciliation with Eli Enns

In episode #6, we speak with Eli Enns, a Nuu-chah-nulth Canadian political scientist and internationally recognized expert in bio-cultural heritage conservation. Eli is the Co-Founder & President of the Iisaak Olam Foundation, which works to support indigenous leadership in the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. Ultimately, Isaak Olam aims to support the establishment of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) in Canada, and to educate Canadians about their importance. In 2007, Eli co-founded the Ha-uukmin Tribal Park on the territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation. More recently, he co-chaired the Indigenous Circle of Experts for the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative, which was focused on how the creation of IPCAs can simultaneously contribute to Canada’s biodiversity conservation commitments and also promote reconciliation with First Nations in Canada. Eli is also a co-leader of the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership (CRP), which is a coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders, scholars, conservation groups and communicators working to advance the recommendations put forth by the Indigenous Circle of Experts in their report entitled, We Rise Together (link below).

In talking about his current work with the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership, Eli took us through the deep historical perspective that informs contemporary nation-to-nation interactions in Canada, and the relevance of that history for both conservation and reconciliation. Eli reflected on Indigenous perspectives on the Covid-19 pandemic, and noted how the discussion of many, if not all, contemporary environmental issues, can benefit from improved cross-cultural literacy.

Note: Our conversation with Eli was recorded in mid-May, 2021, prior to the news about the finding of the burial site of 215 Indigenous children from a residential school in Kamloops, BC. So while this news isn’t a part of our conversation with Eli, we want to acknowledge that awareness of the atrocities that took place within Canada’s residential school system is also foundational to the notion of cross-cultural literacy in Canada. We hope that our conversation with Eli plays a part in promoting the cross-cultural literacy that’s necessary to advance the process of reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and settlers in Canada.

Iisaak Olam Foundation:

The Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership:

We Rise Together, the report by the Indigenous Circle of Experts:

#5 Ecology and youth activism converge for wetland conservation with Andrea Kirkwood & Devin Mathura

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

#4 Does carbon pricing work? A conversation with Jessica Green

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:

#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:

#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:

#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: