2017-2018 Talks

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Why the Amazon Matters

KPU's interdisciplinary field school in the Amazon
Where Forest, River, and Sky Conspire

Speaker: Dr. Farhad Dastur

The Amazon is Earth's imagination. Here we witness evolution's genius for design and the limitless solutions to the existential problems of survival. These are the creative forces that allow an insect to mimic a plant and a plant to mimic an insect. Here, forest, river, and cloud conspire to create the world's most diverse ecosystem: home to 2.5 million insect, 40,000 plant, and 1,300 bird species. Here flows one fifth of the planet's fresh water in a river so great that it dilutes the Atlantic Ocean over 100 km out to sea. Here, every year, falls 27 million tons of fertilizing dust carried on winds from the Sahara Desert. Some of the rainforest's 3,000 fruits could broaden our diets, delight our palates, and provide many health benefits, while Amazonian botanicals may be tomorrow's cures for a range of ailments. The indigenous cultures of the Amazon are equally magnificent. The oldest archaeological evidence of humans in the Amazon dates back 11,000 years. The Watoto, Makuna, and Yanomami are just a few of the 200 indigenous cultures inhabiting the forest. Seventy-seven of these tribes have had little or no contact with the outside world. What wisdom, knowledge, and stories do they possess? Sadly, all this biodiversity and cultural diversity are under threat. The Amazon is now 20% smaller than it was 40 years ago, the consequence of a perfect storm of climate change, colonialism, corruption, unsustainable development, deforestation, cattle ranching, and industrial farming. Given the Amazon's immense biological and cultural significance, and the answers it holds to the problems of both today and tomorrow, we are compelled to ask: What would it mean if we lost the Amazon?

Nature as Teacher: Science via the Senses

Speaker: Lee Beavington, Department of Biology

Kids spend 7 hours a day on screens and 7 minutes a day in nature. Time in nature promotes the development of children who are more attentive, active, creative—and perhaps most importantly—more connected to the natural world.

Is nature-deficit disorder real? How can nature be our greatest teacher? Walking amongst the conifer giants of our temperate rain forest, immersed in direct sensory experiences, rekindles our connection to the more-than-human world. As an ecologist and Amazon Field School instructor currently researching ‘nature experience', Lee Beavington's presentation integrates science, ecopsychology and arts-based learning. He will explore how robins can teach us biology, how rivers reveal physics, and offer inspiration for nature-based education.

Monday, September 25, 2017

I knew it and so did you! Social cognition across the lifespan

Speaker: Dr. Daniel M. Bernstein, Department of Psychology

Social cognition permits us to communicate and empathize through our assessment of what others know and feel. Yet, our own knowledge and feelings often limit our ability to take another's perspective, or know how another feels. Our own knowledge can also limit our ability to recognize our own prior ignorance. These errors occur frequently in children, but also in adults. A challenge for social scientists is to develop tools and methods to study social cognition in children and adults. I will discuss work exploring social cognition from preschool to old age. Combining developmental, cognitive, and learning sciences, this research can benefit researchers, teachers, students, policy makers and parents.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First we eat with our eyes: What multisensory research has to say about how to eat, drink & be merry

Speaker: Dr Kristie Dukewich, Department of Psychology

People tend to think of eating as a unisensory experience – a process that only involves the sense of taste. However, eating and drinking are rich multisensory experiences, and research has show that the interaction of the senses produced an experience that is, at times, wholly different from the sum of its parts. In this talk I will present the research on how sensations from vision, audition, olfaction (smell), tactile (touch) perception, and gustation (taste) interact, and how we can exploit this research to enhance our experience of food and drink.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Written In Ice – Glaciers and Climate Change

Speaker: Johannes Koch, Department of Geography

Glaciers are sensitive indicators of climate change, and their study reveals important information on past environmental change in alpine regions, which, in turn, may help us predict future effects of climate warming. Alpine environments around the world have changed dramatically over the last century. The most obvious changes have been to glaciers; in many areas glacier cover is less than 60% of what it was 150 years ago. Many glaciers may even vanish within the next several decades if current trends continue. Evidence from around the world shows that glaciers have advanced and retreated repeatedly during the last 10,000 years. However, the large and rapid recession of most glaciers in just over one century is unprecedented. As glaciers recede and, in some cases, disappear, stream flow will decrease, affecting fish populations, water supply, power generation, irrigation and tourism.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Why We Need To Talk About Poo

Speaker: Dr. Paul Richard, Department of Policy Studies

We don't talk about human waste, and as a result we treat them indeed as a waste as opposed to a resource.  So they end up polluting when they could in fact become resourceful.

We'll explore its biology - how they can be a good indicator of health or disease; with a side trip to microbiome concepts, fecal transplants, etc.

What is wrong with our current methods of handling waste, poop, from the bad design of toilets and washrooms, all the way to how current sewage practices pollutes our environment: excess nutrients in our water; fecal coliforms on our beaches, parasites like crypto and toxo in our drinking waters; pharmaceuticals and drugs confusing our fish; plastics in the ocean and our salmon steaks; fatbergs and “flushable” towels plug our sewers.
The take-away: we are a wasteful society.  That needs to stop, for our sake and for the planet's sake, and the first step is to a solution is a realistic dialog. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's App with your health? Exploring technology applications for your wellness

Speakers: Leeann Waddington, MSN Faculty of Health & Dr. Karen Davison, Faculty of Science

Canadians recognize the value of being healthy yet we struggle to do what is best for our minds and bodies.  There are a variety of electronic tools available to support healthy lifestyles. In this interactive presentation, we will explore the science of human behaviour, nutrition, physical activity, and sleep that optimize physical and mental functioning. Let's explore how apps can support your journey to wellness.