Humans are influenced by the same base genetically-endowed traits for growth, survival and reproduction that all species share. Biological expression of those traits results in resource use (and waste production), resource accumulation, and population increases respectively… and has ultimately led us to the Anthropocene.
However, we have also evolved a distinctive consciousness trait that provides us with the capacity for a radical paradigm shift in how we choose to live, and what we choose to really value in life. By acknowledging and embracing the fundamental realities of our biology and of our existential predicament, it could lead us to suppress the influences of our more base genetic traits so as to live in a more environmentally and socially sustainable (and possibly more contented) way.
Reducing our ecological footprint is one of the first steps in that paradigm shift, and makes each of us less part of the problem, and more part of the solution. Minimizing air travel whenever possible is a tangible effort to restrict my footprint. Raising awareness – true deep awareness – is my rationale for posting on this website.
I am an ecologist interested in how the plants, animals and soil organisms of terrestrial ecosystems interact with each other and with their physical environment. Humans and the impacts of their activities are an integral part of ecosystem ecology. Understanding these inter-relationships between biology and the flows of energy and nutrients is the basis for predicting how terrestrial ecosystems will respond to changes in climate, land-use, and other perturbations.
I study Arctic as well as lower latitude ecosystems, and have published over 65 research papers in international peer-reviewed journals. I am committed to engaging with students and the public on sustainability issues.