The Planetary Health Alliance
Josh Tewksbury is Director of the Colorado Global Hub of Future Earth, Executive Editor of Anthropocene – Innovation in the Human Age, Research Professor in the Sustainability Innovation Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Senior Scholar in the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. In these capacities, Josh works with a globally-distributed executive team and a set of international sponsors in science and development (Belmont Forum, ICSU, ISSC, STS Forum SDSN, UNESCO, UNEP, UNU, and WMO) to generate global sustainability science relevant to societies, connect research communities across disciplines and geographies, and help drive a step change in how international, interdisciplinary science engages with societal partners and stakeholders.
Prior to his current positions, Josh was the founding director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, a collaborative research center embedded within the secretariat of WWF International. In that capacity, Joshua built the institute, initiated the Luc Hoffmann Fellows Program, and 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.
Prior to building the Luc Hoffmann Institute, Josh was the Maggie and Doug Walker Endowed 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. Josh is an ecologist by training, he has published over 90 peer reviewed papers, many in top science journals (e.g. Nature, Science, PNAS), and he has worked both within and outside of academic institutions to build structures and processes that bring science together across disciplines and increase the impact of science on decision-making. Josh Received his BA from Prescott College (1992) and his PhD from the University of Montana (2000).
“Global health, planetary health, and human health are inextricably connected. There is a growing realization that sustainable improvements in fundamental aspects of the human condition – hunger, disease burden, health, longevity, life quality – depend as much on improving the health of our planet as on any other single factor. And yet to date, the vast majority of research on human health is completely separate from the study of the environments in which we live. The same is generally true for policy: in many countries, health policy and environmental policy might as well be drafted in different languages for all the communication there is between them. This is a crazy state of affairs – it is akin to splitting the task of designing a race car into two teams, one working on the back half, one working on the front, and asked them to design a winning car without talking to each other. The way forward requires a systems approach in which we map, quantify and set priorities among the many links between human and environmental health and focus our efforts on increasing the resilience of those systems that protect and support the most vulnerable in our societies”