Director, Back to Eden Project on a Sustainable Earth
Tom is a farmer, teacher, author and technologist at the nexus of environment, justice, conflict prevention and investment. He is a Caux Scholar and for a decade has co-curated the Switzerland based Caux Dialogue on Land & Security in partnership with the Land, Lives, Peace Initiative. He has been bringing together peace makers, leaders in regenerative agriculture and renewable energy sectors, building resilient networks that leverage investment into solutions at scale across community, industry and Government. Tom previously taught public health and environment policy at Monash University in the Department of Medical Sciences and has led several technology companies.
Tom is a published author at Elsevier including first edition ‘Land Restoration – Reclaiming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future’, which focuses on the nexus of conflict prevention through land and water management practices, peace making and multi-stakeholder engagement strategies, designing community resilience in a changing climate, better Governance and facilitating project formation at large and small scale for maximum impact. His chapter ‘Regenerating Agriculture to Sustain Civilization’ co-written with Allan Savory, founder of Holistic Management brings together thought leadership and regenerative design that can effect global change by local actors, particularly pastoralists, farmers and Governments by utilizing easy to follow principles. Holistic management methods have restored over 45 million hectares of grasslands and stopped deserts across USA, Australia, Asia and Africa whilst protecting coral reefs from farm run-off.
Tom’s work in largescale restoration development has regenerated 46 million acres of land and water across Asia and Australia. He focuses on addressing the human dimension of resource conflict, the role of technologies in problem solving, communication tools for participation, building soil carbon matter for increased productivity and developing community resilience in a changing climate. Practical outcomes include preventing conflict between pastoralists, farming communities and water users by bridging the rural and urban divide in the mega-cities and river basins of Asia, the arid grasslands of Inner Mongolia and the dryland basins of Australian cities.
With 70% of global resource conflict occurring in drylands, the combination of inappropriate management of scarce food and water resources, and inefficient markets contribute to a climate of instability. In this context Tom seeks out non-traditional elements of conflict prevention to his practice with technical design elements including:
– regenerative design for land and water managers,
– mobile renewable energy technologies for pastoralists and farmers,
– social media development and participation,
– decision support systems for better Governance,
– circular economy technologies,
– mobile banking solutions for the unbanked and
– public ledger and blockchain technologies that connect producers and consumers, across the rural and digital divide to eliminate waste in the marketplace and build more efficient local economies with greater participation of the disadvantaged.
Tom focuses on humanity’s pressing resource issues by converging complex and creative solutions that work at enabling the pre-conditions for peace with a wide set of stakeholders.