Graham Strickert

I grew up on the North end of Scugog Island in Ontario.  My dad’s family had a homestead in Saskatchewan, but latter move to Thunder Bay, Ontario. My mom’s family is from Wales, but my mother grew up in Crystal Beach and Oakville, Ontario. I am married to Lori Bradford (also working with the Delta Dialogue Network). We have two kids; Tasman (called Taz for short) is five, and Aurelia (called Rilsy for short) is two and a half. In my spare time I love to be on the water, snow, or immersed in natural settings. I have worked as a waterski instructor, ski and snowboard instructor canoe guide, software tester, environmental certification specialist, environmental remediation coordinator, lecturer, and researcher. I like to sail, waterski, mountain bike, rock climb, ski/snowboard, and play hockey.  Lori would say I’m an adrenaline seeker, but I also like to fish, practice yoga and take singing lessons to balance out the more risky activities.

Water is important to me, as it has been a significant part of my life since I was very young. In my short life time, I have noticed some changes in water systems that are concerning. The quality of the water in Lake Scugog where I grew up has declined. Even Lake Superior, where I spend 6 years of my life, despite its massive size is showing signs of negative human influence. Even in a pristine country like New Zealand, where I went to graduate school, the quality of water in the rivers systems has declined due to human activities. And the Saskatcheawn River Basin is also showing significant signs of stress. I’m inspired to do the work I do because humans are now a dominant force of nature, we have to understand people’s values, choices and behaviours and how these combine to influence natural systems - for good or for bad. I believe that we can alter our relationship with natural systems so that humans have a positive impact on the environment, this will take all of us and it will take a long time, but that’s the point.  

In my research, I try to better understand how different people think about and use water and by working with physical scientists, how this shapes the water systems. Right now my focus is on water security in the western interior of Canada, but I have also studied natural hazards in mountain and river systems, how to develop eco-friendly tourism in remote areas, how to clean-up and remediate industrial legacy sites, and how to make environmental certification systems work for small businesses. My current position with the Global Institute for Water Security is a dream job because of the intellectual challenge, the interesting people I meet, and, the opportunity to help scientists, stakeholder’s and rights holder’s better understand one another. In fact my research has converged around empathy as a core theme. Can we use science and stories to help people better understand and empathize with one another? In the Delta Dialogue Network, my role is to help craft workshops that help people better understand each other’s points of view.

I am really excited to work with people in the DDN to better understand how they are experiencing and adapting to the fast changing environment and how we can make our relationships with water one that is good for natural systems. 

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