Webinar #6

Please watch the video for a recap of the session.

Data-driven decision-making: truth and trust in science

The emergence of COVID-19 and its impact on individuals and societies across the world have driven home the totalizing effect of global risks, a critical element of what Ulrich Beck once called our modern day “risk society.” Beck was interested in the interconnectedness of risk and society’s response to uncertainty, both key elements of today’s pandemic. Science plays an indispensable role in shaping our understanding of these risks and our management of it. Yet, our trust in science and scientific institutions has been in decline of late. Today, public experts, scientists, and institutions responsible for guiding us through the pandemic and the unfolding evidence around COVID-19 are being both celebrated and castigated. What lessons can we learn from COVID-19 while it is still “front of mind” that we can apply to “back of mind” issues and wicked problems such as climate change?

In this webinar, we will explore these themes with experts in health, science, science communication and climate finance. Among others, we will explore questions such as:

  • Who is responsible for fighting the grand challenges of our time? What is the balance of individual versus institutional responsibility?
  • How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our trust in public experts and institutions? How should it be changing the way in which we think about climate change?
  • To what extent are our responses to uncertainty and change creating further polarity in beliefs and values? How and how much do our “tribes” trump “truth”?
  • How do the urgent and also less-immediate aspects of crises create tipping points in our support for the evidence base and particular policy choices? What are the limits of scientific expertise?
  • What levers exist in the economic system and in capital markets that could be used to better insulate against future shocks? What should we be doing now to facilitate, build and expand these?

Webinar #6

Date: Thurs, August 6th, 2020

The Virtual Victoria Forum 2020, the webinars and the Victoria Forum 2021  are jointly hosted by the University of Victoria and the Senate of Canada.

This webinar is presented in partnership with:

Founding partners:


Kristy Faccer

Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions

Prior to joining the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Kristy Faccer spent more than a decade working internationally as an advisor, researcher and practitioner in the fields of climate change and sustainability. She has been invited to speak and participate in projects on nearly every continent and in the process, engage with and learn from leaders and innovators across all sectors of society. Kristy’s written work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, books and the popular media and covered topics from most recently, corporate sustainability and the green economy to climate resilience. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto and recently completed her PhD in management at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. Her doctoral dissertation drew on framing and social movement theory to explain how attention to context and collaboration between unlikely allies can positively shape climate action within and beyond individual organizations.


Mark Campanale

Founder, Carbon Tracker UK

Mark is the Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative and co-founder of ‘Planet Tracker’ He has been recognized by The London Evening Standard as one of the ‘1000 most influential people in London’ awards. He has served in various advisory roles for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, UK Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum, ImpactBase.org, the Rainforest Foundation UK, the Gordon and Betty More Foundation, Consilium Capital and Tribe Impact Capital. He has thirty years’ experience in sustainable financial markets working for major institutional asset management companies and has a BA in Politics & Economic History and an M.Sc in Agricultural Economics.

Ivan Semeniuk

Science journalist, The Globe and Mail

Ivan Semeniuk reports on science for The Globe and Mail. A long time science journalist in print, online and broadcast media, his stories have informed Canadians about topics as diverse as space exploration, genetic engineering and climate change. His previous roles include Washington-based chief of correspondents for the journal Nature, U.S. bureau chief for New Scientist magazine and a producer with Discovery Channel, Canada. His work has garnered several awards including the Royal Canadian Institute’s Sandford Fleming medal for contributions to the public understanding of science.

Thomas Homer-Dixon

Director, Cascade Institute

Thomas holds a University Research Chair in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Canada, and is Director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia. Between 2009 and 2014, he was founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. Born in Victoria, BC, Thomas received his BA in political science from Carleton University and his Ph.D. from M.I.T in international relations, defense and arms control policy, and conflict theory. His books include The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization; The Ingenuity Gap: Can We Solve the Problems of the Future?; and Environment, Scarcity, and Violence. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Scientific American, The New York Times, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, and the Globe and Mail. His current research is focused on threats to global security in the 21st century, including economic instability, climate change, and energy scarcity and on how people, organizations, and societies can better resolve their conflicts and innovate in response to complex problems.

Diane T. Finegood

Professor, Simon Fraser University

Diane Finegood is a Professor and Fellow in the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University where she teaches the Semester in Wicked Problems as part of the Semester in Dialogue cohort program.

Her career has spanned a broad range of disciplines and leadership roles. She is currently serving as Executive Director of the Canadian Health Services and Policy Research Alliance. She served as President & CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2012-2016) and inaugural Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (2000-2008).

Diane is an internationally recognized researcher with scholarly work in a range of disciplines including the fundamental science of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, application of mathematical modeling to physiological systems, new models for population health science, cross sector partnership, and complex adaptive systems. During her career, she has published more than 140 peer reviewed papers and book chapters, been awarded $35 million in grant funding and has received numerous honors and awards for scientific excellence, leadership and mentorship.

Past Webinars

Webinar #1

Our shared future in the wake of a global pandemic: Impact on economic, social and environmental divides

The coronavirus pandemic affects us all. We fully expect it to have a much wider and deeper impact on our economies, our health care systems, our societies and social systems, our environment and our business operations. The virus is exposing and exacerbating economic and social divides already present around the world, both within and between countries.

Webinar #2

Whither cities: Addressing economic, social and environmental challenges during and beyond Covid-19

Why do civilizations decline or disappear? Some historians would suggest that inequality is one key reason why this happens. Some scholars have suggested that when less privileged members of a society feel particularly aggrieved by inequality they might just tear an entire society down.

Webinar #3

Systemic Racism & Inequality in the Middle of a Global Pandemic

Many countries around the world have found a strong call to action, a quest for change and a clarion call for solidarity as new pathways emerge from the shared struggles in the face of racial discrimination, police brutality and race-based violence around the world. 75% of Americans believe racial and ethnic discrimination is a big problem in the U.S.

Webinar #4

Power of Community Sport to Heal Social Disruptions

Sport underpins the unique connections and friendships which bring together a large part of the world’s populations.

In 2001, the united nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, founded the office on sport for development and peace, noting that sport has “an almost unmatched role to play in promoting understanding, healing wounds, mobilising support for social causes and breaking down barriers”.

Webinar #5

Bridging Divides: Trust In Multilateralism

The global COVID pandemic has led to unprecedented measures of forced lockdowns and border closings. It halted movements of people and reduced flows of goods around the world. Yet, COVID has also demonstrated the need for international cooperation in developing a global health response to the pandemic, and mitigating its menacing economic and social impact around the world.

Webinar #6

Data-driven decision-making: truth and trust in science

The emergence of COVID-19 and its impact on individuals and societies across the world have driven home the totalizing effect of global risks, a critical element of what Ulrich Beck once called our modern day “risk society.” Beck was interested in the interconnectedness of risk and society’s response to uncertainty, both key elements of today’s pandemic.

Webinar #7

The “Great Reset”: Making Finance Work for an Inclusive and Resilient Future

The Covid-19 pandemic forced governments around the world to put in place unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus packages in response to the devastating effects of the global pandemic.

Webinar #8

Bridging Divides: Trust In Globalization

Globalization is about the (relatively) free movement of ideas, people, goods, and capital across borders. All of these flows, and their impact, were being questioned before COVID-19 but take on renewed focus in its aftermath. There are those who celebrate a reversal of some or all of these flows, and others who lament the consequences of such actions.

Webinar #9

The future of business and banking, post-pandemic

Covid-19 has exposed and exacerbated the divides facing our world, and businesses are considering how to recover from the immediate effects, respond to medium- and long-term changes that the pandemic may have precipitated, and use the opportunity to redress some of the imbalances that existed previously. Financial institutions are key players in responding to these changes.

Webinar #10

Bridging gender divides: the impact of Covid-19 on equality

Covid-19 poses different challenges for women all over the world. Often, women are caught between seemingly contradictory trends. Depending on who they are, where they are and what situation they find themselves in, women are experiencing the pandemic as a time of regress or progress, with traditional gender roles becoming reinforced for some while others are able to access online education and networks in unprecedented ways