#18 Navigating the biodiversity crisis with Dan Kraus

In this episode, we’re speaking with Dan Kraus. Over the past 25 years, Dan has been working as an ecologist, environmental planner and conservation scientist in public, private and non-governmental organizations. Dan has recently joined Wildlife Conservation Society-Canada as the Director of National Conservation. In this role, he is working to advance the Key Biodiversity Areas initiative, or KBAs for short, which is a new global standard that seeks to identify and map critical habitat for threatened species. Dan discusses how KBAs will help to provide the high resolution biodiversity data that will be essential as we strive to improve our systems of protected areas around the world.

As someone who has worked extensively at conservation NGOs in Canada, Dan has developed a diverse skillset that allows him to thrive at the science-policy interface. In our chat, Dan shares his perspective on the vital role that NGOs will continue to play for the future of environmental protection, and also how an individual’s passion for the environment can continue to lead to conservation successes from grass roots beginnings. We also talked about Dan’s prolific activity as a conservation science communicator and his recent work as both a PhD student and a teacher at the University of Waterloo.


#17 Rubber ducks, microplastics and climate action with Rick Smith

In this episode we are speaking with Rick Smith, the President of the Canadian Climate Institute (formerly the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices).

Rick has had a long career in environmental activism and spent many years as the Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada. Prior to his time at Environmental Defence, Rick received his PhD from the University of Guelph, where he worked with the Cree community of Waup-ma-goo-stui, in Nunavik, to assess the status of a local seal population. He was also a prominent voice in the battle to develop Canada’s species at risk act.

He has co-authored two books focused on the effects of environmental contaminants, a topic that we explore in detail in our conversation, focusing both on his role in raising awareness and lobbying for legislation. We also discuss the emergent crisis of microplastics and the lagging policy response to the issue.

This episode was recorded in February and we discuss Canada’s forthcoming Emissions Reduction Plan, now released, which lays out a roadmap for meeting Canada’s target to cut emissions to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030.


#16 Finding the foundation with Severn Cullis-Suzuki

In our season 2 premiere, we are speaking with Severn Cullis-Suzuki. When Severn was only 12 years old she warned world leaders about the cost of their inaction on environmental issues at the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, or more commonly known as the Rio Earth Summit. Severn’s words are not only still relevant today, but are now a devastating reminder of the decades of inaction on climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable development.

As we discuss in our interview, Severn has been extremely busy over these intervening 30 years, advocating for environmental and Indigenous rights, conducting research and raising a family. In this interview, she reflects on her journey, how it led to her recently taking on the role of Executive Director of the David Suzuki Foundation and how her perspective on the climate crisis has evolved.

DSF: https://davidsuzuki.org/

Severn's personal site: https://severncullissuzuki.com/