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Affiliate Full Professor, University of Washington; Research Associate, African Climate and Development Initiative and FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town; CEO, Stable Planet Alliance, University of Washington

I work in, and across, the big issues of the day facing the future of society and our planet - in the realms of planetary boundaries, biodiversity, climate change, global change ecology, population, consumption, environmental and societal futures, and conservation biology, both in science and on policy. I trained in Canada (BSc Hons biology), South Africa (MSc zoology with distinction) and Sweden (PhD animal ecology & evolution) as an evolutionary and behavioural ecologist working on birds, and still somehow manage to combine the fine-scale and big-picture stuff in my life. I'm increasingly working on tipping points for personal, societal and institutional sustainability, in futures studies, and in the media (especially film and popular writing and speaking) to help communicate this.


  • 2021–2023
    Chief executive officer, Stable Planet Alliance
  • 2005–2023
    Honorary research associate, University of Cape Town
  • 2017–2023
    Adjunct professor, University of Washington
  • 2018–2021
    Chief science and policy officer, Conservation Biology Institute
  • 2017–2018
    Executive Director, Pacific Biodiversity Institute
  • 2015–2016
    Lead scientist: Biodiversity futures, South African National Biodiversity Institute
  • 2014–2016
    Lead scientist: Climate change bioadaptation, South African National Biodiversity Institute
  • 2005–2014
    Senior scientist: Climate change bioadaptation, South African National Biodiversity Institute
  • 2003–2005
    Scientific & technological coordinator, Global Invasive Species Programme
  • 1994–2003
    Founding national coordinator, Namibian National Biodiversity Programme
  • 1999–1999
    Founding national coordinator, Namibian National Climate Change Programme


  • 1994 
    Uppsala University, Sweden, PhD / Animal Ecology and Evolution
  • 1990 
    University of the Witwatersrand, MSc (distinction) / Zoology
  • 1983 
    Acadia University, BSc (Hons) / Biology


  • 2021
    World Scientists' Warnings into Action: Local to Global, Science Progress
  • 2021
    Six areas where action must focus to rescue this planet, The Conversation
  • 2021
    The climate emergency: 2020 in review, Scientific American
  • 2021
    Body mass and condition of a fynbos bird community: investigating impacts of time, weather and raptor abundance from long-term citizen- science datasets, Ostrich
  • 2020
    World Scientists' Warning of a Climate Emergency , BioScience
  • 2020
    The climate emergency, forests, and transformative change, BioScience
  • 2019
    Tracking species in space and time: citizen science in Africa, Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 2017
    Southern hemisphere biodiversity and global change: data gaps and strategies, Austral Ecology
  • 2017
    A 2017 horizon scan of emerging issues for global conservation and biological diversity, Trends in Ecology & Evolution
  • 2017
    Early warning systems for biodiversity in southern Africa – how much can citizen science mitigate imperfect data?, Biological Conservation

Grants and Contracts

  • 2014
    Lead Climate Scientist, SANBI; Lead Researcher, Climate Change Vulnerability and Bioadaptation
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation

Professional Memberships

  • Society for Conservation Biology (distinguished service awardee 2002)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science


Forbes Distinguished Professional Achievement Award, 2019; Distinguished Service Award, Society for Conservation Biology 2002; Fulbright Full Doctoral Grantee 1993-94