Ian Mauro, an acclaimed environmental scientist and award-winning filmmaker, has been named as the new executive director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, hosted and led by the University of Victoria in collaboration with UBC, SFU and UNBC, effective Nov. 1.
Mauro is the former executive director of the Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg, has developed community-based climate projects from coast to coast to coast, and led the creation of the Climate Atlas of Canada, which showcases much of this work.
He will also join UVic as professor of environmental studies, and his expertise in climate communications and knowledge mobilization will also support PICS-funded projects.
As a scientist and filmmaker, Mauro’s climate communications scholarship and multimedia projects explore climate science, society and sustainability, and the vital role of local and Indigenous knowledge. He has developed numerous, award-winning climate-change initiatives, including Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, which he co-directed with acclaimed Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk as part of his postdoctoral work at UVic. He also directed Beyond Climate, a feature film about climate change in BC, narrated by David Suzuki, which the pair have extensively toured across BC and Canada.
The Climate Atlas of Canada, one of the most-used climate information websites in the country, was recently updated to include First Nations, Métis, and Inuit data and resources. Mauro’s work has been featured in academic conferences, museums, film festivals and news media.
“Climate change is transforming the world around us, and Ian Mauro brings those stories and solutions to the forefront in visual and tangible forms that galvanize action, innovation and impact,” says Lisa Kalynchuk, UVic’s vice-president, research and innovation, who hosts and leads the collaboration between the province’s top research universities, including Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Northern British Columbia.
“British Columbia is a real leader in climate research and it’s humbling to contribute to this knowledge ecosystem and associated climate action,” says Mauro. “There is a huge opportunity in BC to address these existential issues and demonstrate to the world how we solve these challenges.”
He points to the collaborative work being done through PICS and at its network of partner institutions as exemplars.
“PICS is already a leader at co-producing knowledge with diverse partners and helping to shape the next phase of this work is an honour,” says Mauro. “Developing respectful, trust-based partnerships is central to my approach and I’ve been fortunate to work at the interface of academic scholarship, Indigenous knowledges, and community-level risk assessment, adaptation and resilience planning across the country.”
“I take our collective responsibility to ensure future generations have a safe and livable planet very seriously,” he says. “This is a game that’s for keeps. The decisions we make now have profound consequences. So, to be part of that conversation here in BC and beyond is tremendously exciting.
“We are in the game of changing the world—we have to be.”
Mauro holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a PhD in Geography, and studied as a post-doctoral fellow in the School of Environmental Studies at UVic. He is a former Canada Research Chair of Human Dimensions of Environmental Change at Mount Allison University, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, and an Apple Distinguished Educator. He has served on expert panels related to food security, energy issues and climate change in Canada.
As executive director at PICS, Mauro follows in the steps of Dr. Sybil Seitzinger who has led the institute for the last seven years, honing its focus on co-developing impactful research between academics and those seeking solutions to climate change, including governments, Indigenous Nations and partners, businesses and non-profit organizations.