James Borrell is a conservation scientist, and science communicator with experience of conservation fieldwork and research around the world. Environmental issues are becoming increasingly polarised as we search for simple soundbite solutions, where they often don’t exist. A willingness to compromise, debate, digest new evidence and occasionally change your mind are skills we need in conservation, and sometimes elsewhere in buisness and life.
What we do in the next fifty years will impact life on earth for at least the next five million years, probably long after humans have disappeared. So this generation of conservationists – especially those starting their careers now – are the most important to have ever lived. They will either either succeed, and slow, stop and reverse global biodiversity loss; or by the end of this century, at our current rate, the impact may be irreparable.
Since I started writing and speaking about conservation, over a decade ago, progress has been unimaginable.
For these reasons, I am undoubtedly and unapologetically optimistic.
I‘m interested in what drives patterns of biodiversity, particularly genetic diversity — the unique combinations of DNA inside populations of plants or animals.
Gentic diversity is the basis of how species evolve and adapt. The challenges and stresses we impose on wild populations — for example, climate change, pollution etc — mean species are under very strong pressure to adapt. My research focuses on how we can understand these processes, and if possible, help species or entire ecosystems to adapt.
I have worked on a huge diversity of organisms, from dragonflies to birds, and amphibians to big mammals, but mostly on ubiqitous but often overlooked plants. Find out more, here.
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James is a highly acclaimed public speaker, delivering keynotes, lectures and debates to a wide range of audiences including students, the public, conservation practioners and scientists. Rather than further polarizing already divisive conservation topics, James aims to explain the complexity and nuance of conservation. What we choose to do over the next five decades, will profoundly influence the diversity of life on eath for the next 5 million years. It’s never been a more important, or more exciting time to be a conservationist.
“It was refreshing to have a speaker who talked with such passion”
City of London Freemen's
“Interesting, informative and pitched at exactly the right level for our students.”
Academic summer school
“You had the audience hanging off your every word.”
“You gave a splendid talk – cogent, passionate, clear and compelling.”