Professor Archer is a geographer, working on sustainable agriculture/managed ecosystems and climate in Africa. She is an Associate Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Pretoria, and is currently the Acting Director of the Centre for Environmental Studies.
After her PhD at Clark University in the northeastern US, she undertook a NOAA Global & Climate Change postdoctoral fellowship at the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (IRI) at Columbia University in New York; co-hosted by the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focus is on drylands, with experience throughout the SADC region and on the continent. Amongst other duties, she has served as a co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Africa Assessment (www.ipbes.net), as a Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) on the Forests and Water Assessment of the Global Forestry Expert Panels (GFEP), as a Review Editor on GEO-6; and she is currently an Associate Editor for the journal Weather, Climate and Society, and a Climate Change Channel Editor for PLOS (www.plos.org).
Eduardo S. Brondizio is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University Bloomington, USA, where he also directs the Center for the Analysis of Social-Ecological Landscapes (CASEL).
Committed for three decades to field-based research on human-environment interaction and social-environmental change in the Amazon region, Brondizio has also contributed to several regional and global assessments. Brondizio has served on numerous international scientific bodies and as Co-Chair of the Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (2016-2019) of the Inter-governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Brondizio serves as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability [Elsevier].
Dr. Odette Curtis holds a PhD (2013) in Botany from the University of Cape Town (UCT), an MSc Zoology (2005) and a B-Tech in Nature Conservation (CPUT). Odette managed the Black Harrier & Black Sparrowhawk Projects from 2000-2006 at UCT; undertook a pilot study on gamebirds in Renosterveld (2007) and was contracted by CapeNature’s Stewardship Programme from 2007-2011.
In 2012, she started the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT, www.overbergrenosterveld.org.za), an NPO dedicated to securing the last remnants and corridors of remaining Renosterveld in the Overberg for conservation. Odette has served on the board of the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency ; the Fynbos Forum Committee; the Western Cape Field Trial Club Committee and the Committee of the Botanical Society’s southern Overberg branch.Odette has discovered several plant species new to science in Renosterveld, two of which has been named after her. In 2014, she received both the Flora Conservation Award from the South African Botanical Society, and the CAPE Fynbos Conservation Award for ‘her passion, dedication and innovative approach towards the conservation of critically endangered biodiversity.’
Sandra Díaz is interested in plant functional traits and general patterns of functional specialization, their effects on ecosystem properties and their interactions with global change drivers.
She constructed the first global quantitative picture of essential functional diversity of vascular plants –the global spectrum of plant form and function- providing a backdrop for evolutionary, ecological and biogeochemical modelling studies. She has advanced theory and practical implementation of the concept of functional diversity and its effects on ecosystem properties and benefits. She combines her plant ecology studies with interdisciplinary work on how different societies value and reconfigure biological communities and ecosystems. Sandra is a Professor of Ecology at Córdoba National University, and a senior member of the National Research Council of Argentina. She founded Núcleo DiverSus on Diversity and Sustainability, and co-founded the Global Communal Plant Trait Initiative TRY. She co-chaired the Global Assessment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. She is a member of the Academies of Science of Argentina, USA, France, and the Developing World, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. She has been was awarded the Cozzarelli Prize (2008), the Margalef Prize in Ecology (2017), the Senckenberg Award for Nature Research (2019), the Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science (2019), and the Princess of Asturias Award for Science (2019).
Dr Benis Egoh is an assistant professor at the Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine (UCI). She holds a Master degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in Zoology from Stellenbosch University.
Before joining UCI, she worked for the CSIR in South Africa as a principal researcher and the European Commission during which she contributed to various policy implementation tasks including the development of a framework for mapping and assessment of ecosystem services which is being used by EU member states. Benis’ area of interest lies in generating research outputs on biodiversity and ecosystem services that are relevant for policy implementation. These includes the identification of priority areas for conservation actions such as restoration and protection. She is a C1 rated researcher in South Africa, a lead author of the IPBES African assessment and an executive member of ESP.
Workineh Kelbessa is Professor of Philosophy at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Wales, Cardiff, now Cardiff University, United Kingdom, an MA in development studies from the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands and a BA in Philosophy from Addis Ababa University.
At Addis Ababa University, he was the chair of Philosophy Department from 2001 to 2004, 2006 to 2007 and 2016 to 2019. Kelbessa has received several research grants, and authored 2 books, over fifteen peer-reviewed research articles across a wide spectrum of journals, 2 encyclopedia articles, twenty-seven book chapters, 1 research report, and two reviews in the fields of environmental ethics, development ethics, climate ethics, African philosophy, globalization, philosophy of love and sex, and indigenous knowledge. He is a member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology, and the International Panel on Social Progress. Kelbessa was also a research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation based at the Institute of Botanic and Landscape Ecology of the University of Greifswald, Germany, from 2007 to 2008 and in 2015, he returned to Germany on sabbatical as a recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Return Fellowship. He conducted his research at the Forum Scientiarum of the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen. Currently, he is a Visiting Humboldt Research Fellow at the International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities of the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany.
Andrew Light is University Professor of Public Policy, Philosophy, and Atmospheric Sciences at George Mason University, and Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, in Washington, D.C. From 2013-2016 he served as Senior Adviser and India Counselor to the U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change, working on the senior strategy team for the UN climate negotiations.
In recognition of this service, Andrew shared in a Superior Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State for his work creating and negotiating the Paris Agreement. Andrew is the author of over 100 articles and book chapters, primarily on climate change, restoration ecology, and urban sustainability, and has authored, co-authored, and edited 19 books, including Environmental Values (2008), Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice (2003), and Environmental Pragmatism (1996). He is currently serving on a U.S. National Academies of Science Panel on research and governance of solar geoengineering.
Markku Oksanen earned his PhD degree in philosophy in 1998 from University of Turku. From 2002 he has been teaching philosophy at the University of Eastern Finland, except between 2009-2014 when he was on leave as the Academy Research Fellow.
He also conducted doctoral studies at Cardiff University (1992-93) and post-doc studies at Lancaster University (2000) and made some shorter research visits to the Netherlands, Canada, Great Britain and the USA. Oksanen has co-edited three volumes, Philosophy and Biodiversity (Cambridge University Press, 2004), The Ethics of Animal Re-creation and Modification: Reviving, Rewilding, Restoring (Palgrave 2014) and Environmental Human Rights: A Political Theory Perspective (Routledge 2018). His articles has been published in many anthologies and periodicals, such as Ambio, Environmental Values, Environmental Politics, Ethics, Environment and Policy, and Ethical Perspectives. His research interest cover broadly the fields of environmental ethics and green political theory, including environmental human rights and rights of nature, and emerging philosophical and ethical issues in biodiversity conservation and global warming (e.g. de-extinction, assisted migration, rewilding, climate migration).
After lecturing at the University of Manchester (2000-2002) he moved to the University of Cambridge (2002-2011). Since 2011 he is Ikerbasque (Basque Foundation for Science) Research Professor at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3). From 2015 to 2018 he was member of the multidisciplinary expert panel (MEP) of IPBES, being involved in various assessment management committees, lead author of the Global Assessment (2018) and currently co-Chair of the Values Assessment (2018-2021). He is co-Chair of the Natural Assets Knowledge Action Network of Future Earth, and member of the scientific steering committee of the Global Land Programme and ecoSERVICES (also of Future Earth) as well as member of various international advisory committees such as of BiodivERsA, the network of national and regional funding organisations promoting pan-European research on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Pragati Sahni is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Delhi. She completed her PhD from the University of London and has been a commonwealth scholar. She was appointed Visiting Professor of Indian Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada for the winter term in 2016.
Her areas of interest include environmental philosophy and Buddhist ethics. She is the author of Environmental Ethics in Buddhism: A Virtues Approach and has co-edited Understanding Ethics.
Fabio Rubio Scarano was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he is Professor of Ecology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, since 1993. He has a degree in Forestry from the University of Brasília and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
Fabio has worked for private companies in the forestry sector in Brazil, and for the Brazilian government he held positions in the Ministry of Education (2005-2011) and Ministry of Environment (2007-2009), when he was Science Director of the Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro. He has also been a Senior Vice-President at the NGO Conservation International (CI; 2009-2015) and Executive Director of the Brazilian Foundation for Sustainable Development (FBDS; 2015-2018). He has been a lead author in the latest reports of the United Nations’ panels on climate change (IPCC) and biodiversity (IPBES), and in Brazil’s climate change panel (PBMC). Since 2015, he is one of the coordinators of the Brazilian Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BPBES). His scientific publications and books are related to climate change adaptation, sustainability science, science-policy interface, and biodiversity conservation. His current topic of interest is Gaia, as a holobiont, and the relationships between its components: the atmosphere, the biosphere, the technosphere and the noosphere.
Dr. Rashid Sumaila is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Oceans and Fisheries Economics at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries & School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, the University of British Columbia.
He specializes in bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, illegal fishing, climate change and oil spills. Sumaila is widely published and cited. He is on the Editorial Boards of several journals, including Science Advances, Scientific Reports and Environmental & Resource Economics. He is winner of several awards, e.g., the 2018 UBC President's Award for Public Education Through Media; the 2017 Volvo Environment Prize; the 2017 Benchley Oceans Award in Science and the 2016 UBC Killam Research Prize, Sumaila was named a Hokkaido University Ambassador in 2016. He has given talks at the UN Rio+20, the WTO, the White House, the Canadian Parliament, the African Union, the St James Palace, and the British House of Lords.
Professor Svenning received his PhD in tropical ecology in 1999. He has since then worked broadly in ecology and biogeography, with particular interest in the basic mechanisms underlying biodiversity dynamics and ecological community assembly, biodiversity-climate relations, the ecology and diversity of trees and megafauna, and in human-biodiversity relations from prehistorical times to the future.
Given our current Anthropocene challenges and the biodiversity and climate change crises in particular, professor Svenning has coupled his fundamental research to applied research in conservation, restoration and rewilding, and in ecological forecasting and remote-sensing-based monitoring, as well as developed a research agenda on the ecology of the human species and our closest relatives. Professor Svenning is currently director for the Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World (BIOCHANGE) at Aarhus University.
David Tilman is Regents Professor and McKnight Presidential Chair in Ecology at the University of Minnesota, and Distinguished Professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California Santa Barbara. Tilman is an experimental and theoretical ecologist whose long-term experiments and related theory showed that, and why, biodiversity is a major determinant of ecosystem stability, productivity, carbon storage and susceptibility to invasion.
Much of his recent work focuses on agriculture, and seeks ways to preserve biodiversity and prevent extinctions while still providing secure and healthy diets for all the people of the Earth. David Tilman is a member of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the UK’s Royal Society. Other recognition includes the International Prize for Biology, the Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences, the Balzan Prize in Plant Ecology and the BBVA Foundation’s Frontiers of Knowledge Award.
Gary Varner wrote one of the first dissertations on environmental ethics (University of Wisconsin–Madison 1988) and has since published three books and over 60 shorter pieces on related topics, including hunting, animal agriculture and human nutrition, medical research and cloning of animals, and pet ownership.
His books are: In Nature’s Interests? Interests, Animal Rights, and Environmental Ethics (Oxford University Press 1998); Personhood, Ethics, and Animal Cognition: Situating Animals in Hare’s Two-Level Utilitarianism (Oxford 2012); and (with ecologist Jonathan Newman and philosopher Stefan Linquist) Defending Biodiversity: Environmental Science and Ethics (Cambridge University Press 2017). He is currently working on a fourth book: Sustaining Animals: Envisioning Humane, Sustainable Communities (under contract with Oxford). His presentation will discuss essays from the August 2019 issue of Conservation Biology on “compassionate conservation” (vol. 33: pp. 751-787) from the perspective of Harean, two-level utilitarianism.
Emily T. Yeh is professor and former chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her PhD (2003) is from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. Most of her research has concerned nature-society geography and the relationship between development and the environment in Tibetan parts of China.
This has included studies of property rights and conflicts over natural resources, the political ecology of rangeland protection and development policies, vulnerability to climate change, indigenous knowledge of climate and ecological change, ideologies of nature and nationalism, emergent environmental identities and grassroots environmental activism, and the relationship between Tibetan culture, Buddhism and environmental protection. She is the author of Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development (Cornell UP 2013), as well as co-editor of Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands (U. Washington Press, 2014).
Professor Barend Erasmus is the Dean in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) at the University of Pretoria (UP). He obtained the degrees PhD (Zoology), BScHons (Zoology)
and BSc (Zoology) from the University of Pretoria. He has spent most of
his working career at the University of the Witwatersrand.
After a short postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Stellenbosch, he was appointed as a lecturer in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences in 2003. He was subsequently promoted to professor and the Exxaro Chair in Global Change and Sustainability. Prof Erasmus’ research interests subsequently expanded from biodiversity and climate change impacts to a more systemic approach to long-term land cover change and sustainability in rural landscapes.