Biology professor Peter Leavitt is one of those lucky people who gets paid for doing what he loves to do most.
"In the same way a musician who plays guitar can't wait for the next concert, I can't wait for the next project because that's what I want to be doing," says Leavitt, who holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and Society at the University of Regina.
Leavitt's research focuses on two areas of critical importance regionally and globally, water quality and climate change.
His study of lake ecosystems on five continents has resulted in the development of a new international framework that can be used to forecast the effects of climate and societal change on the quality and availability of fresh waters in Canada and around the world.
Another key component of his work is the reconstruction of the last 2,000 years of climate change and occurrence of droughts on the Canadian Prairies, using fossil records from prairie lakes. He incorporates this information into risk assessment models that can be used to forecast the frequency, duration and intensity of future droughts.
Through his work on these and other projects, Leavitt is looking at how human activity is impacting the environment and what that means in terms of the capability of society to continue in the future.
"Most environmental science is insanely easy," Leavitt says. "You don't want the pollution? Stop. But the challenge is to make the decision in the context of everything else that is going on in our lives."
That challenge is the reason his research position is called "environmental change and society."
"I think they have to handshake, they have to interact," he says. "So our objective is to use Regina as a globally significant example of how to do things better in the future."
Leavitt says the University of Regina is a great place to do research.
"University of Regina researchers are conducting groundbreaking, world-changing research based in Regina. There are great things happening here and a positive attitude that is catching on."