Phoebe Barnard

Affiliate Full Professor, University of Washington, and Chief Science and Policy Officer, Conservation Biology Institute - Mount Vernon, Washington, USA
Mount Vernon, Washington, USA
Phoebe Barnard

Most of my career has been helping Namibia and South Africa understand biodiversity, society, and climate vulnerability, and recently supplementing scientific work with co-producing films with my groovy filmmaker husband. I decided to return to the USA in the Obama administration, but only managed to arrive a week before the inauguration of Trump.

During my time on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment board, my ‘hypocrisy angst’ about ‘flying around the planet to save the planet’ became chronic and we instituted teleconference meetings thereafter. I am now something of an activist on this issue and yet search for some mechanism to reduce the inequities and ethical conundrums involved for the many people who face family, humanitarian, or experiential challenges. Should there be a lottery to award flight credits? What’s the most appropriate, palatable and feasible balance of regulatory, consumer-boycott, and technological strategies? Thank you Peter for organizing this group!

I’ve worked on climate change and biodiversity science, strategic planning, and policy for 22 years, and evolutionary ecology for 16 years before that – mostly in Namibia and South Africa – as well as training young conservation scientists and science communicators in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Nigeria, where I have a fantastic bunch of mentees.

My specialization is global change ecology and endemic bird vulnerability, but my interests are very broad, and I’ve set up and run a number of big national programs on biodiversity, climate change, and earth observations, as well as community groups on urban open space systems, firewise communities, and community resilience to ‘shocks to the system.’