Concordia University Presents

The Walrus Talks Climate

Ottawa 7 p.m. (ET), Monday, April 28, 2014

Concordia University


  • Pay Attention and Pay For It by Robert Bateman, artist and naturalist
  • The Two Degree Target by Damon Matthews, Concordia University
  • Environment, Energy and the Economy by David McLaughlin, University of Waterloo
  • Overcoming the Contradiction Between Idea and Action by Liz Miller, Concordia University
  • Getting Ahead of the Storm with Green Infrastructure by Faisal Moola, David Suzuki Foundation
  • Canadian Food after Climate Change by Lenore Newman, University of the Fraser Valley
  • The Frontline of Climate Change by Aaju Peter, Lawyer and culturist
  • Clean-tech Bulls Versus Climate Bears by Tom Rand, MaRS Discovery District
  • Climate Change and Human Rights: A Few Caveats by Peter Stoett, Concordia University

Robert Bateman is one of the world’s most celebrated wildlife artists. His work has been acquired by public and private collectors around the world and exhibited throughout North America, including in the Smithsonian Institution. He is a public advocate for environmental issues such as biodiversity, vanishing habitats, and endangered species. Robert has been awarded twelve honorary doctorates; was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1984; has been the subject of several films and television programs; and has had three schools—one public and two secondary—named after him. In May 2013, the Robert Bateman Centre, where over 100 of his works are on permanent display, opened in Victoria, BC.

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Damon Matthews is an associate professor in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment at Concordia University. He obtained a B.Sc. in environmental science from Simon Fraser University in 1999, and a Ph.D. in earth and ocean sciences from the University of Victoria in 2004. Prior to joining Concordia in January 2007, he held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary and worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University. Through his research, he explores the many interactions between human activities, natural ecosystems, and future climate change, and contributes to the knowledge base required to promote sound national and international climate policy. Damon is currently investigating the uncertainties associated with sinks and sources of greenhouse gases in relation to expected future climate changes. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Stabilization Targets for Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas Concentrations, and he contributed to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Lenore Newman’s love affair with food began on her family’s fishing boats, where she learned about direct marketing for local products. She is a Canada Research Chair in food security and environment, and she is an associate professor in the geography department at the University of the Fraser Valley. Lenore runs a research program focused on Canadian regional cuisines, local food sovereignty, culturally preferred foods, and urban food systems. She has written extensively on farmland protection and the resurgence of farmers’ markets in Canada, and she is a strong advocate for fresh local food.


Peter Stoett is a political science professor at Concordia University and director of the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre. Prior to joining Concordia in 1998, he taught at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Guelph, and the University of Waterloo. Peter has written, co-written, and co-edited over ten books and over fifty peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and papers, and he has conducted research in Europe, Africa, Central America, and Asia. From April to July 2013, he taught at the International Institute of Social Studies at The Hague, and from January to June 2012, he was the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Canada-U.S. Relations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he studied transborder environmental relations. He is a senior research fellow with the Earth Systems Governance Project, a member of the Canadian Association of the Club of Rome, and an expert member of the Commission on Education and Communication, which is affiliated with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Aaju Peter is an Inuit activist and a 2012 recipient of the Order of Canada for her efforts to preserve Inuit culture. Born in 1960 in Arkisserniaq, a northern Greenland community, Aaju moved up and down the west coast of her native country because of her father’s teaching and preaching career. At age eleven, Aaju attended school in Denmark, where she studied German, French, English, Latin, and Danish, before returning to Greenland at age eighteen. In 1981, she moved to Iqaluit, where she began speaking Inuktitut, working as an interpreter, and volunteering with various women’s organizations, before commencing her work in Inuit studies at Nunavut Arctic College. She has travelled across Greenland, Europe, and Canada, performing modern drum dance and traditional singing and displaying sealskin fashions. Currently, Aaju runs a home-based sealskin garment business, works as a translator, and advocates for Inuit rights. She graduated from Akitsiraq Law School in 2005 and was called to the bar in 2007.

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Liz Miller is a professor in communication studies at Concordia University and an award-winning documentary maker whose films, web initiatives, and media campaigns on issues such as water privatization and immigration are used in educational curricula around the world. Liz’s research involves documentary production, digital storytelling, cross-platform outreach for documentaries, and media advocacy, and her newest project features five women from around the world tackling climate change through policy-making, protest, education, and innovation.

Faisal Moola is one of Canada’s most respected environmental advocates. For the past decade, he led an expert team of scientists, analysts, and communicators at the David Suzuki Foundation, focusing on protecting Canada’s cherished wild spaces and endangered species. Faisal was at the forefront of some of Canada’s most iconic environmental battles, including efforts to permanently protect BC’s Great Bear Rainforest and a national law to protect endangered species throughout the country. After living for several years on the West Coast, Faisal returned to the Greater Toronto Area, where he is leading the Suzuki Foundation’s efforts to green our cities.

David McLaughlin has over twenty-five years of experience as a senior public-policy professional in both federal and provincial governments. He served as chief of staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Premier Bernard Lord, and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. David has held two deputy minister positions in New Brunswick—one in intergovernmental affairs and one in policy and planning—and he was appointed president and CEO of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in August 2007, were he served until 2012. David is now strategic advisor to the dean of environment at the University of Waterloo. He is a published author and an honorary fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.


Tom Rand works in carbon mitigation, having left a successful career as a software entrepreneur. He is active in cleantech venture capital, technology incubation and commercialization, and public advocacy. Tom is managing partner of the privately backed $30 million MaRS Cleantech Fund and a senior advisor at the MaRS Discovery District; he also sits on the boards of several clean energy organizations. In 2011, Tom opened the Planet Traveler, a low-carbon hotel in downtown Toronto. He published his first book, Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit: 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World, in early 2010, and his second, Waking the Frog: Solutions for Our Climate Change Paralysis, earlier this year. He believes that we have yet to engage in a serious public conversation about climate change and the economic opportunities that a low-carbon economy will create. Tom holds a B.Sc. at the University of Waterloo, an M.Sc. at the University of London and LSE, and an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. He is also an Action Canada fellow.

The Walrus Talks is a national series of events produced by the charitable, non-profit Walrus Foundation as part of an educational mandate to provide forums for conversation on matters vital to Canadians. The Walrus Foundation produces The Walrus magazine, the most awarded publication in Canada, as well as producing content at, on Walrus TV, and on stages from coast to coast to coast.

The Walrus Talks format features eight speakers for seven minutes each on various themes relating to a single topic. Each event offers lively, thoughtful, inspiring, riveting, smart, new thinking from scientists, writers, performers, scholars, and leaders of business and the arts. Each Talks event is followed by a spirited reception with attendees and participants.

The Walrus Talks delivers fresh ideas and new ways of looking at big issues. The Walrus has no “wings.” Our speakers are chosen to reflect a range of experiences and viewpoints, but they all have one thing in common: the desire for real conversation about issues that affect the future of Canada. Our goal is for audience members to think “I never thought about it that way” when the Talks are over.

Dates, details, and ticket information are available at