Director, Global Diversity Foundation
BACKGROUND / Academic and professional background
Gary Martin founded the Global Diversity Foundation, an international NGO that promotes biocultural diversity and enhances socio-ecological wellbeing, in 2000. The Foundation builds upon his applied research and teaching on conservation and ethnobotany that has taken him to more than fifty countries since 1980. Twice a Fulbright scholar, he has a PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in botany. He is the author of Ethnobotany, a reference in the field that is widely used around the world. From 1992 to 2000 he was a coordinator of the People and Plants Initiative on ethnobotany and the sustainable use of plant resources, a program he founded with colleagues from the World Wide Fund for Nature, UNESCO and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. From 1998 to 2011, Gary was a lecturer in the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent, where he co-created the postgraduate program in ethnobotany, and from 2010 to 2012 he was a Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany. Since 2012, he has been a member of the Darwin Expert Committee that advises UK ministers on the principles and objectives of the Darwin Initiative, which seeks to protect biodiversity and the natural environment worldwide through locally based livelihood projects. Through these diverse experiences, he realized that a new generation of activists and changemakers is transforming our conventional views of environmental and social challenges, and that as we search for solutions to our current crises, we should be listening to the voices of this emerging vanguard. In response, he created the Global Environments Network in 2011 to allow changemakers from around the world to engage in peer-to-peer learning, practical initiatives and collective leadership.
More about the Global Diversity Foundation: www.global-diversity.org
ACHIEVEMENT/ What is your project, initiative, start-up, company all about?
The Global Environments Network amplifies the impact of emerging changemakers who are working at the intersection of economic, environmental and social concerns. Events organised under the auspices of the Network allow changemakers to connect with each other, participate in mutual learning and establish collaborative relationships. These events include the Global Environments Summer Academy, an annual multicultural and transdisciplinary learning experience that broadens and deepens the knowledge, networking and communication skills of postgraduate activists and professionals. Alumni of the Summer Academy organize Global Environments Regional Academies and Community Exchanges, which expand the scope of our initiative by including an even broader range of participants and topics. In order to maintain and activate the global learning community, shared practice and collective leadership born in these events, an Alumni Innovation Fund and Internet Platform support collaborative and transformational projects.
More about the Global Environments Network: www.globalenvironments.org
LOCATION/ In which city, country, part of the world do you conduct your activities?
Our approach is global: over the last five years – and from thousands of candidates – we have invited over 150 early career activists and changemakers from more than 50 countries and 30 indigenous nations to participate in our interactive learning events and join the Global Environments Network. Over the next three years we will expand our outreach and include a broader range of participants through multilingual regional events in Central and South America, East Africa, Central Asia and the Mediterranean.
IMPACT/ What is the positive economic, social, political, environmental…of your activity, project, initiative, start-up, company?
Members of the Global Environments Network are leading lights in finding ways to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and impoverished livelihoods. They are addressing diverse and interconnected aspects of conservation and development-related conflict by, for example, assisting small-scale farmers to sustain agroecological methods, redesigning urban landscapes for accessibility and biocultural diversity, or innovating advances in the field of energy conservation. At the same time, they are pioneering approaches rooted in art, business, gender, law and spirituality. They unite their voices to infuse vibrant multicultural and transdisciplinary perspectives into international policy discourse.
QUOTE/ A saying, quote or reference phrase that tells something about you
“The universe is a continuous web. Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers.”