GCC Distinguished Lecture Series

Dr. Josh Tewksbury, Future Earth

Living in the Anthropocene: Science, Sustainability, and Society

View the full lecture here
Dr. Josh Tewksbury

Dr. Josh Tewksbury

Josh Tewksbury, Director of the Colorado Global Hub at Future Earth, visited Virginia Tech on April 21 at the Lyric Theatre.  His lecture, entitled “Living in the Anthropocene: Science, Sustainability and Society”, was sponsored by the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech.

Tewksbury is an ecologist, conservation biologist, and planetary health scientist with experience both in academia and in civil society. In addition to his appointment at Future Earth, Tewksbury is also a research professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a senior scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University.

“Dr. Tewksbury is leading the charge to advance conservation and sustainability initiatives on a global scale,” said William A. Hopkins, director of the Global Change Center. “As director of the U.S. office of Future Earth, he is working with a broad international coalition of groups like the United Nations to pursue what has been called ‘possibly the largest, most ambitious international research program ever undertaken.’ As Virginia Tech is poised to advance its collective strengths in the environmental sciences, we are thrilled to have such an outstanding leader visit Blacksburg to engage in a community-wide discussion about critical issues facing our planet.”

Tewksbury was previously the Walker Professor of Natural History at the University of Washington, with appointments both in the department of biology and the College of the Environment, where his work focused on major global change issues, including the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, the potential of landscape connectivity to mitigate the impacts of climate change, and the impacts of species loss on ecosystem function.

In addition to more than a decade of academic work, Tewksbury also served as the founding director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute at WWF, a global research center based in Switzerland focused on the co-creation of multi-disciplinary research. As director, Tewksbury launched over a dozen research projects, including work on the Food-Energy-Water nexus in South-East Asia, development corridors in East Africa, global mapping of threats to biodiversity, and the development of regionally-appropriate low-carbon sustainability targets for urban areas.

Tewksbury’s current research interests include studies of direct and indirect effects of climate change on food security at large spatial scales, the potential of large-scale restoration to serve multiple human and biodiversity goals, and the contribution of science to large scale planetary health issues.

“Josh’s work lies at the critical nexus between conserving Earth’s biodiversity and meeting the needs of a growing population,” said David Haak, an assistant professor of plant pathology, physiology and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate. “To do this well requires a distinct capacity for thinking broadly and acting globally, and Josh does both of these exceptionally well. So, it is not surprising that he is emerging as a leader in global sustainable development.”

During his visit, Tewksbury met with students in the Interfaces of Global Change Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program as well as with affiliated faculty in the Global Change Center.


This story was adapted from a VT News release written by Lindsay Key