Bill is a research scientist in the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University, a research fellow at New Knowledge Organization, and Political Animals editor for the journal Society & Animals.
The focus of Bill’s work is the ethics of sustainability with an emphasis on animals and conservation. Schooled in ethics, geography, and political theory, his interdisciplinary approach examines why and how we ought to care for nature and society.
Sustainability is more than preserving a global elite’s lifestyle or ensuring humanity’s mere survival in an era of rampant environmental change. It is rather about sustaining the well being of people, animals, and nature across the planet, now and into the distant future. Sustainability needs, therefore, to be both scientifically and ethically sound. Its facts and values need to be transparent and accountable to society, while its goals must serve the good of the entire community of life.
Bill is particularly keen on public scholarship that brings academic insights to the wider public without unnecessary jargon or impenetrable theories. Some of the ethical issues he has addressed include compassionate conservation, intergenerational equity, multispecies justice, precaution, rewilding, urban wildlife management, wolf recovery, outdoor cats and biodiversity, barred and northern spotted owls, and the Canadian seal hunt.
Prior to Clark he was a professor at Tufts University and Williams College, where he taught courses in animal studies, environmental studies, ethics, qualitative research, and public policy.
He is a founding editor of the international journal Ethics, Policy and Environment, former chair of the Ethics Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), former Director of the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program at Tufts University, International Associate of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies, and an author in many journals and books.
Bill also serves as an ethics consultant helping civil society and governments make better policy decisions through advising and training, expert opinions, keynotes, research briefs, meeting design/facilitation, messaging, and strategic planning.