“As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty,
and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life – so I became a scientist.
This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.”
— Matt Cartmill
As a Professor of Climatology at the University of British Columbia (UBC), I study why the climate matters to society as well as to ecosystems like coral reefs. My group’s work provides insight into the causes and effects of climate change, public attitudes, policy options at home and abroad, and what can be done to adapt.
Being a scientist, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to engage my curiosity about the natural world for a living. With that opportunity, comes responsibility. As an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow and a Google Science Communication Fellow, I am committed to bridging the gap between the academia and the real world. I regularly participate in public events, comment on radio and television, and maintain a blog.
I grew up in the diverse city of Toronto where even in the dead of winter, I was often packed in a baby carriage and left outside to sleep. Since then, I have been interested in the human, societal, and environmental impacts of climate and climate change. Today I am a Professor in the Department of Geography at UBC in beautiful, damp Vancouver, as well as an associate in UBC’s Liu Institute for Global Issues, The Biodiversity Research Centre, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES), the Atmospheric Sciences Program, and the Director of UBC’s Ocean Leaders program.
I came to UBC after a few years in the Science, Technology and Environment Program in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Years before that, I spent my undergraduate days in the terrific interdisciplinary Arts and Science Programme at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario learning just enough philosophy to make the rest of life difficult. I also did a master’s degree in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University where like most transplants to North Carolina I conducted research on lake ice. After a break from academe, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin to do a PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Wisconsin with the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment.