Floating Ideas

Join us once a month for our evening lecture series and find out what’s new in marine science from the experts! Free to members and annual pass holders, regular admission rates apply. Lectures begin at 7:00pm (Doors open at 6:30pm).

October 17 — The Dragons of Inaction: What Are They and How to Slay Them

Most people are now aware climate change is happening and is a huge concern. Hundreds of jurisdictions have declared this an emergency. Nevertheless, the majority of people are not yet taking enough action to change the dangerous trajectory we are all on. Why not? This presentation highlights the Dragons of Inaction; these dragons are a compendium of psychological barriers that hinder a person’s desired actions. To date, they have mainly been gathered to help explain why a person agrees climate change and environmental sustainability are important problems, yet does not take enough action to effectively deal with those problems. However, the dragons can also help explain why people have difficulty moving from intention to action. How to overcome these dragons will be discussed.

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Robert Gifford is an environmental psychologist who is Professor of Psychology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the International Association of Applied Psychology, is the recipient of a Career Award from the Environmental Design Research Association, and was recently elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Professor Gifford is the author of 140 refereed publications and book chapters and five editions of Environmental Psychology: Principles and practice. His 2016 book (as editor) is Research methods for environmental psychology. He was the Chief Editor of the Journal of Environmental Psychology for 14 years, and has served as President of the Environmental Psychology division of the International Association of Applied Psychology, APA’s Population and Environment Division, and CPA’s environmental section. He also tries to grow roses and vegetables at his rocky hillside home, but the deer and raccoons think he is growing them for their benefit.

November 19 — Urban Biodiversity


Compared to wilderness areas, cities are often viewed as biological deserts. However, many cities are biological hotspots located on estuaries, floodplains or other biologically productive, unique and strategically located habitats. For example, Victoria is vital to the Garry Oak ecosystem and Metro Vancouver is key to the Fraser River’s salmon stocks and birds of the Pacific Flyway. They are rich in biodiversity with its own unique qualities because of introduced non-native species and new novel ecosystems not seen anywhere else in nature. Urban biodiversity is complex, dynamic and fascinating because the city is a place for both nature and people.

Val Schaefer, PhD, RPBio, is a Professor Emeritus in the University of Victoria’s School of Environmental Studies, where he was the Academic Administrator of the Restoration of Natural Systems Program. His research and practice focus on urban biodiversity using an approach that combines ecology, natural history and landscape architecture. Val has authored, co-authored and edited several books including Urban Biodiversity: Exploring Natural Habitat and its Value in Cities and The Natural History of Stanley Park. The rewards Val has received for his work include the BC Minister of the Environment’s Award for Environmental Education, the BC Society of Landscape Architects’ Award for Community Service, and the Vancouver Natural History Society (VNHS) John Davidson Award for Conservation.