Lucas (aka "Luke") is a quantitative social scientist with a background in political psychology. He is interested in improving how public and private institutions collect, communicate, and disseminate information with citizens. Lucas graduated with a master's degree in political science from the University of Calgary in 2019 and is a former fellow of the International Society of Political Psychology. Among his academic interests, Lucas is passionate about the science of science communication; particularly in understanding how political partisanship influences individual belief systems as well as developing strategies to mediate political polarization. Lucas loves many things including dogs, good sci-fi, travel, and Alberta's beautiful parks system!
Why did you join the climate movement/what pushed you to become interested in climate change issues?
Many different life events contributed to my interest in climate change. Of these, however, two events are most notable. The first was my exposure to the political psychology discipline and its wider community of scholars and researchers. It was during these formative years that I acquired an understanding of how political ideologies shape and reinforce belief systems. The second was the rise of authoritarianism and negative partisanship in western democracies. The latter cemented my concern that scientific knowledge has become politicized. I believe strongly that the democratic system is capable of solving challenges such as climate change, but only when citizens have a shared understanding and acceptance of the problem - even if they disagree with one another about the best course of action! These interests and concerns lead me to the Climate Reality Project.
What is one achievement you are proud of?
I recently finished work on a large research project at the University of Calgary, which helped to create a publicly available database of Canadian provincial, territorial, and federal elections. I am a strong supporter of open source and open science initiatives and am always happy to play a role that removes barriers to knowledge.
What are some climate change initiatives you are currently taking part in?
I consult with community leaders on effective communication strategies for mitigating political polarization on topics relating to the environment. I am also a supporter of the Defend Alberta Parks initiative.
What do you think is the most effective way for people to take climate action?
I think the answer depends heavily on the individual as people bring a variety of different skills and experiences to any initiative. I believe then that it is in our collective interest (and the role of nonprofits such as the Climate Reality Project) to adopt strategies that empower individuals to apply their knowledge and skills most effectively. That said, one area where we can all make a difference is in our habits as consumers.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I was on my university's rowing team (but I wasn't very good). Go Dinos!