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About me
A bit about me

I live on the borders of Suffolk and Essex in eastern England.

I am Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex (Emeritus Professor from autumn 2024). My sole-authored books include The Low-Carbon Good Life (2023), Sea Sagas of the North (2022), The East Country (2017), The Edge of Extinction (2014), This Luminous Coast (2011), The Earth Only Endures (2007), Agri-Culture (2002), The Living Land (1998), and Regenerating Agriculture (1995).

I am former Deputy-Chair of the UK government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, have served on advisory committees for UK research councils and the Government Office for Science, the Royal Society, Natural England and Academy of Medical Sciences, food companies, the Swiss National Science Federation and China Agricultural University. I was appointed A D White Professor-at-Large by Cornell University and the Nat C Robertson Visiting Professor at Emory University, and was Founding and Chief Editor of the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. I received an award from the Indian Ecological Society for contributions to regenerative agriculture.

I was presenter of the BBC Radio 4 series Ploughing Eden, a contributor and writer for the BBC TV Correspondent programme The Magic Bean, and was a panellist for Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. I wrote and presented a BBC radio show on Rachel Carson. I am the host of 76 podcasts and films (in the series Louder Than Words and Brighter Futures).

I received an OBE in the UK for services to sustainable agriculture, an honorary degree from Ohio State University, and the British Science Association Presidential Medal (Agriculture and Food). I was appointed President of Essex Wildlife Trust, and am Chair of the Essex Climate Action Commission. I chair of the Kansas State University Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, am Fellow of the Evergreeing Global Alliance and the WWF-UK, and Senior Associate Scientist at the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Iceland. I was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex in 2023.

I was formerly a Centre Director, Head of Department, Pro-Vice Chancellor and then Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Essex.

This Luminous Coast was winner of New Angle Prize for Literature, and The East Country was winner of the East Anglian book of the year. Agri-Culture was shortlisted for the US Harry Chapin media awards. I write the blog series The Climate Chronicles.

My work
Positions Research

Senior Associate Scientist, Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland

Fellow, WWF-UK

Deputy Lieutenant of Essex

The Climate and Nature Crises

Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture

Nature and Health/Well-Being

Social Capital and the Environment

Public and Policy Engagement (and stories)

My Latest Release: Sea Sagas of the North

My 2022 book, Sea Sagas of the North, is about identity, place, and the dance of ecological and cultural change. There are shadows on the shining sea. Fish cities have shrunk to hamlets, old ports have been levelled and harbours are full of warming water yet there’s barely a single ship.

An Arctic author asks, how do you say goodbye to a glacier? A burnished skipper leans across the table and says, you know, we were more tolerant in those days, when we sailed and steamed and brought home gifts and stories. They travelled on a sea that once was dry, and now is warming once again, washing at the lower lands. It seems more storms are gathering.

This book is about the many inspiring stories and sagas from the North Sea and eastern North Atlantic. These offer hope for different futures.

View more books
My Media

You will find links below to my blog series, The Climate Chronicles, and to the 76 podcasts and films I have hosted in the Louder than Words and Brighter Futures series. You will also find photographs and Shodo artwork in the galleries.

Bending Circular Economies Into Shape
25/10/23 Bending Circular Economies Into Shape
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