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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Jessica Vomiero.

Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? From the Mafia to the Beavertonwomen in politics to women in leadershiphistory to artificial intelligence, and entrepreneurship in the digital age to the art of wheelchair fencing, just what on Earth is going on?

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Jun 8, 2018

Climate change is real, and we are causing it. At least, that’s the consensus among scientists around the world. A tiny handful of academics disagree, and that is a critical feature of science, but does this mean we should debate it as if it were an open question? Part of the reason we seem to so freely and so brazenly challenge those who have done their homework is because we lack the tools to distinguish between fact and fiction. We, as citizens, need to be literate in science in order for the real debates to be had.

Joining Ben for an impassioned conversation is renowned climate scientist Dr. John Smol.

Read the blog post for this episode.

About the Guest

Water pollution, climatic change, declining fisheries – these environmental problems are at the forefront of many people’s minds. And so are the dreaded diseases like cancer, asthma, autism, that many experts feel are linked to toxic chemicals in our environment, in particular, our fresh water supplies.

John Smol and his team at the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL), at Queen's University, go deep below the surface of our lakes and rivers to uncover the secrets of our environmental history, written in the mud and silt.

Professor Smol’s work has been informing policy discussions and decisions nationally and internationally for many years, starting with his acclaimed role in the acid rain debates. With the help of the PEARL team, his research has enabled policy makers to make knowledgeable, proactive decisions in areas such as agricultural runoff, clearcutting, protection of fish habitats, and air pollution control.

With a public more concerned and informed about the environment than ever before, PEARL’s ongoing discoveries enable governments to be leaders in the stewardship of Canadian natural resources.

No matter how complicated paleolimnology might sound to you, to John, it’s all about one simple vision: the more we know about our environment, the better decisions we can make to protect it.

Learn more about John.