Dr Julian Caldecott is an internationally-respected British/South African ecologist, wildlife conservationist and public-policy adviser on nature-based solutions to biodiversity loss and climate change.
His background is in Asian and African rainforest, wildlife and biodiversity conservation. He is thus an eye-witness to the fate of many tropical wildernesses, and his adventures are a rich source of insight and anecdote. Building on this experience, he has evaluated for various institutions well over ten billion pounds’ worth of sustainable development and climate investments.
He has published learning and reference books on great ape conservation, wildlife management, water and aquatic (freshwater, marine, wetland and coastal) ecosystems, and other aspects of sustainability. His key books include Designing Conservation Projects (Cambridge 2009), Aid Performance and Climate Change (Routledge 2017), and Surviving Climate Chaos by Strengthening Communities and Ecosystems (Cambridge 2021).
Julian is therefore in a unique position to explain some of the problems that need to be fixed through ecological commonsense and a greater sense of urgency, hope and purpose. He offers ways for development agencies to accelerate and improve delivery, while helping private investors respond better to the climate and nature emergency in a future of chaos and uncertainty. With this background and reputation, Julian can speak with authority on a wide range of topics related to the future of the planetary environment, and how to safeguard it.
His 2022 paper on ‘implications of Earth system tipping pathways for climate change mitigation investment’ redefines standards for investing in preventing catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss. It offers investment houses, insurers and governments a new way to calculate which investments have the highest survival value, so which will be most welcome to the markets and an increasingly worried and deadline-aware public.
Julian is now exploring an electrifying new vision in Restoring Peace with Nature, a book on the practical and constitutional implications of accepting ecological laws as binding over human laws. He argues that we should promise peace with nature in our hearts, join with others in actions to heal nature, and promote universal awareness of ecological boundaries. He chaired a discussion on Peace with Nature for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, involving Neville Ash of UN Environment, Mary Michel of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, Rob Brooker of the Hutton Institute, and Sarah Robinson of the Wildlife Trust.
Julian also recounts a little-known but vital part of World War II history, which overlaps with his own family story. It comes from the darkest days of 1940, when British squaddies and mechanics were sent into the heart of Africa to build a chain of air bases from Ghana to Egypt. Three weeks later, these bases were used to deliver the first of more than 10,000 warplanes over 4,000 miles of the southern Sahara to the Nile and Cairo. Many crashed on the way, littering the desert with their debris. Many of the survivors flew on to face Germany in Greece and Russia, and Japan in Burma and China. But enough stayed in North Africa to reinforce the Desert Air Force until it was able to save the Eighth Army at Gazala and break Rommel’s forces at El Alamein.
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