SPEAKER: Phoebe Barnard, South African National Biodiversity Institute
We may think we know where the world is headed, but our toolbox is both slim and skewed toward lessons and assumptions from the wealthy North. Most of our ecological paradigms are still drawn from north-temperate regions, while the very different southern hemisphere has dawdled in fields from climate change to sociology to environmental futures. But there are important and surprising departure points, in which southern leadership and insights can inform solutions to some of the world’s most intractable problems. I’ll focus most of the talk on lessons from my work in Namibia and South Africa, and from my coauthorship of hemispheric reviews, for biodiversity and ecosystems, climate change, early warning systems of biodiversity loss, and societal tipping points.
Phoebe Barnard is an evolutionary and behavioral ecologist turned conservation biologist, global change ecologist and sustainability strategist. She was born and grew up in New England but did degrees in Canada, South Africa and Sweden, and made her career in southern Africa. She has had a diverse and impactful career in science, policy and implementation: founding and leading national programs for the very young Namibian government on biodiversity and climate change in the 1990s; representing African governments on the board of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and its scenarios working group; acting as scientific lead for the Global Invasive Species Program secretariat, and now is lead scientist for the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s programs on climate change bioadaptation and environmental futures. In her spare time, she does trail-running in the spectacular Table Mountain chain, makes films and media clips, and climbs erupting volcanoes when the opportunity arises.