Labatt Presents

The Walrus Talks Water

Toronto 7 p.m. (ET), Wednesday, May 28, 2014


  • Deep Water and Deep Leadership by Joe MacInnis, physician, explorer, and author
  • Beads of Destruction by Sherri Mason, SUNY Fredonia
  • Swimmable, Drinkable, Fishable Water Is Possible by Mark Mattson, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper
  • John L. Riley, Nature Conservancy of Canada
  • Lost Rivers by Katarina Soukup, filmmaker
  • The State of the World’s Water: The Twin Crises of Contamination and Supply by Marq de Villiers, author
  • Rob Williams, Oceans Initiative
  • Speaking the C-Word by Chris Wood, journalist and author

Joe MacInnis is a physician and scientist who studies leadership in high-risk environments. He has logged more than 5,000 hours beneath the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. Recently, he was the journalist-physician on James Cameron’s seven-mile dive into the Mariana Trench. Random House published his latest book, Deep Leadership: Essential Insights from High-Risk Environments, in 2012. For more information go to

Sherri Mason, an associate professor of chemistry at SUNY Fredonia, studies plastic pollution in freshwater ecosystems. Her research team, in collaboration with the 5 Gyres Institute, has received support from the Burning River Foundation for its work on the Great Lakes. She is also the environmental sciences program coordinator at SUNY Fredonia and the sustainability coordinator of the SUNY FACE Center.

Mark Mattson is a prominent lawyer who spent the last decade building a network of community-focused environmental organizations across Canada. As a prosecutor, first for governments and then for NGOs, Mark worked on groundbreaking cases against major industrial polluters. He founded Lake Ontario Waterkeeper in 2001 and remains the organization’s full-time waterkeeper and president to this day. Mark’s love of water began with the childhood summers he spent swimming and fishing on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ontario.

John L. Riley is the chief science advisor of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. He has worked as a botanist, geologist, ecologist, and conservation professional with the Royal Ontario Museum, the Ontario Geological Survey, and Ontario Nature. He lives in Mono, Ontario.

Katarina Soukup is a documentary filmmaker, media artist, multimedia producer, and the founder of Catbird Productions. Through Catbird, Katarina produces socially relevant documentary, fiction, and interactive projects. Her works tell powerful human-interest stories, which reveal the extraordinary dimensions to seemingly ordinary events. Before beginning her film career, Katarina presented her media art projects at gallery venues in Austria, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, the United States, and Canada’s Art Gallery of Ontario.

Marq de Villiers is the author of nine books on exploration, history, politics, and travel, including Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, which won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction. He and his wife, Sheila Hirtle, wrote Into Africa: A Journey through the Ancient Empires, Sahara: A Natural History, and A Dune Adrift: The Strange Origins and Curious History of Sable Island. Formerly a nationally renowned journalist and executive with the Key Magazine group, Marq now writes books from his home, in Port Medway, Nova Scotia.

Rob Williams is a marine conservation biologist and co-founder of Oceans Initiative. He serves on the editorial boards of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Journal of Zoology, and Animal Conservation; he is a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission; and he is a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Chris Wood is the author of Down the Drain: How We Are Failing to Protect Our Water Resources (co-written by Ralph Pentland). His previous book, Dry Spring: The Coming Water Crisis of North America, was nominated for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Times, Pacific Standard, Maclean’s, and The Walrus. Chris is the coordinating editor for the Tyee Solutions Society, a non-profit Vancouver-based centre for creating catalytic journalism in the public interest.

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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