Peter Kareiva begins his new job, Monday, Aug. 3, as Aquarium of the Pacific’s new President/CEO.

It’s a nice title and a cool place to go to work—imagine starting each day around the coffeemaker with the penguins—but there’s a lot of work to be done, also. Besides having to fill the rather large shoes of Jerry Schubel and fighting the good fight of educating people about the effects of global climate change, there are some rather jarring financial realities: It costs more than $2 million a month to simply keep the aquarium running and nearly three-quarters of its income comes from ticket sales that have decreased dramatically.

We spoke with Kareiva about all that and a bunch of other things including his thoughts about the AOP not only being an agent of positive change when it comes to environmental matters, but societal ones as well.