Tim O'Riordan

Last updated

Tim O'Riordan OBE DL FBA (born 21 February 1942) [1] is a British geographer who is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and a prominent British environmental writer and thinker.



O'Riordan grew up in the north of England, and was educated at the University of Edinburgh (MA, Geography), Cornell University (MS, Water Resources Engineering), and King's College, Cambridge (PhD in Geography).

He taught at Simon Fraser University in Canada in the late 1960s, before talking up a lectureship at UEA. He retired as Professor in 2005. [2]

He was a founder and deputy director (1991-) of the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE) at UEA.

He was widowed and has two daughters and lives in Norwich. [3]


O'Riordan's contributions are to environmental policy analysis; environmental appraisal and evaluation; and environmental governance and decision-making. In 1981 he published Environmentalism, one of the first critical summaries of the field. Latterly he has worked on interdisciplinary approaches pursuing the transition to sustainability, becoming active in the development of sustainability science partnerships. In 2014 he called for a "science for sustainable development which is geared to compassion, fairness, empathy, and social justice." [4] For him, "Sustainability is not a word but a way of becoming." [5] His work has been cited over 16,500 times. [6]

His engaged and more practical work relates to designing future coastlines in East Anglia in England so that they are ready for sea level rise and the creation of sound economies and societies for a sustainable future, using participatory democratic decisionmaking; he has worked in Broadland since the late 1960s. [7]

O'Riordan has edited a number of books on the institutional aspects of global environmental change, and policy and practice, including two editions of the textbook, Environmental Science for Environmental Management. His work on European environmental policy and risk management is summarised in several volumes. He is editor of the prominent magazine/journal Environment.

He has worked on the greening of business, participating in the Prince of Wales' seminar on Business and the Environment, and has sat on several advisory boards including the Corporate Responsibility Body for Asda plc, and the Growth and Climate Change Panel for Anglian Water Group. He was a member of the UK Sustainable Development Commission [8] until it was closed down by the government in 2011.



Related Research Articles

The precautionary principle is a broad epistemological, philosophical and legal approach to innovations with potential for causing harm when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. It emphasizes caution, pausing and review before leaping into new innovations that may prove disastrous. Critics argue that it is vague, self-cancelling, unscientific and an obstacle to progress.

University of East Anglia Public university in Norwich, England

The University of East Anglia (UEA) is a public research university in Norwich, England. Established in 1963 on a 320-acre (130-hectare) campus west of the city centre, the university has four faculties and 26 schools of study. The annual income of the institution for 2020–21 was £292.1 million, of which £35.2 million was from research grants and contracts, with an expenditure of £290.4 million, and had an undergraduate offer rate of 85.1% in 2021.

Jonathon Porritt

Sir Jonathon Espie Porritt, 2nd Baronet, CBE is a British environmentalist and writer. He is known for his advocacy of the Green Party of England and Wales. Porritt frequently contributes to magazines, newspapers and books, and appears on radio and television.

Gilbert Fowler White was a prominent American geographer, sometimes termed the "father of floodplain management" and the "leading environmental geographer of the 20th century". White is known predominantly for his work on natural hazards, particularly flooding, and the importance of sound water management in contemporary society.

Natural resource management Management of natural resources

Natural resource management (NRM) is the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil, plants and animals, with a particular focus on how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations (stewardship).

Felix Dodds

Felix Dodds is a British author, futurist and activist. Born as Michael Nicholas Dodds he took the name Felix Dodds when he was 18. He stood in Mid Derbyshire for the Liberal Democrats in the 2019 General Election. He has been instrumental in developing new modes of stakeholder engagement with the United Nations, particularly within the field of sustainable development. His latest book is Tomorrow's People and New Technology: Changing How We Live Our Lives. In 2019 he was the UK candidate to be the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. Dodds was the Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future from 1992–2012. He is probably best known as the author of How to Lobby at Intergovernmental Meetings: Mine is a Café Latte, written with co-author Michael Strauss.

Rupert Read British philosopher (born 1966)

Rupert Read is an academic and a Green Party campaigner and a former spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion. Read is a reader in philosophy at the University of East Anglia where he was awarded – as Principal Investigator – Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding for two projects on "natural capital". His other major recent academic focus has been on the precautionary principle, having contributed substantially to work co-authored with Nassim Nicholas Taleb on applying the principle to questions of genetic modification of organisms. In further work, Read has theorised the utility of the precautionary principle in a wide range of areas, including: climate change, the environment, as well as financial and technology sectors.

Gary Haq is a human ecologist, author and Research Associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York. He is an expert in transport and environment, climate change, carbon footprint, behavioural change, carbon and urban air pollution management.

Sustainability science emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline. This new field of science was officially introduced with a "Birth Statement" at the World Congress "Challenges of a Changing Earth 2001" in Amsterdam organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). The field reflects a desire to give the generalities and broad-based approach of "sustainability" a stronger analytic and scientific underpinning as it "brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives from north and south, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine". Ecologist William C. Clark proposes that it can be usefully thought of as "neither 'basic' nor 'applied' research but as a field defined by the problems it addresses rather than by the disciplines it employs" and that it "serves the need for advancing both knowledge and action by creating a dynamic bridge between the two".

Technocentrism is a value system that is centered on technology and its ability to control and protect the environment. Technocentrics argue that technology can address ecological problems through its problem-solving ability, efficiency, and its managerial means. Specifically, these capabilities allow humans control over nature, allowing them to correct or negotiate environmental risks or problems. Although technocentrics may accept that environmental problems exist, they do not see them as problems to be solved by a reduction in industry. Rather, environmental problems are seen as problems to be solved using rational, scientific and technological means. They also believe in scientific research. Indeed, technocentrics see the way forward for both developed and developing countries, and the solutions to environmental problems, as lying in scientific and technological advancement.

Piers Macleod Blaikie is a geographer and scholar of international development and natural resources, who worked until 2003 at the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia. His contribution to development has been in four areas:

Mark van Vugt Dutch evolutionary psychologist (born 1967)

Mark van Vugt is a Dutch evolutionary psychologist who holds a professorship in evolutionary psychology and work and organizational psychology at the VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Van Vugt has affiliate positions at the University of Oxford, Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (ICEA).

Steve Rayner British social scientist

Steve Rayner was James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization at Oxford University and Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, a member of the Oxford Martin School. He described himself as an "undisciplined social scientist" having been trained in philosophy, comparative religion and political anthropology.

Peter Taylor (environmentalist) British environmentalist (born 1948)

Peter Taylor is a UK environmentalist, public activist and scholar on issues ranging from nuclear safety, ocean pollution, biodiversity strategies, renewable energy and climate change. He is the author of five books: Beyond Conservation: A Wildland Strategy (2005), Shiva's Rainbow, Chill: A Reassessment of Global Warming Theory (2009), Questions of Resilience: Development Aid in a Changing Climate (2010), and Rewilding: ECOS Writings on Wildland and Conservation Values (2011).

Tim Jackson (economist) British ecological economist (born 1957)

Tim Jackson is a British ecological economist and professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey. He is the director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), a multi-disciplinary, international research consortium which aims to understand the economic, social and political dimensions of sustainable prosperity. Tim Jackson is the author of Prosperity Without Growth and Material Concerns (1996). In 2016, he received the Hillary Laureate for exceptional mid-career Leadership. His most recent book Post Growth—Life After Capitalism was published in March 2021 by Polity Press.

Iulie Aslaksen Norwegian economist

Iulie Margrethe Nicolaysen Aslaksen is a Norwegian economist and Senior Researcher at Statistics Norway. She was a member of the Petroleum Price Board from 1990 to 2000. She is an expert on energy and environmental economics, including petroleum economics, climate policy and economics and sustainable development. She is cand.oecon. from the University of Oslo in 1981 and dr.polit. from 1990. She has been a visiting researcher and Fulbright Fellow at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, and Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Oslo. She was a member of the government commissions resulting in the Norwegian Official Report 1988:21 Norsk økonomi i forandring and the Norwegian Official Report 1999:11 Analyse av investeringsutviklingen på kontinentalsokkelen.

Ragnar Löfstedt

Ragnar E. Löfstedt is the Professor of Risk Management at King's College London and the Director of King's Centre for Risk Management (KCRM) and is the President-Elect (2022) of Society for Risk Analysis.

Michael Breheny was professor of planning at Reading University. He specialised in the planning and management of new economic growth sectors during the post-industrial growth phase in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s.

Cameron Hepburn is an Australian Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science, both in the United Kingdom. He is Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School.

Timothy Mark Lang is Emeritus professor of food policy at City University London's Centre for Food Policy since 2002. He founded the Centre in 1994 and also founded the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment.


  1. O’RIORDAN, Prof. Timothy, Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014
  2. "Interview with Tim O'Riordan | National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Conference & Events". Archived from the original on 6 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  3. "In the news: Tim O'Riordan". 23 August 2002.
  4. http://talks.cam.ac.uk/talk/index/50033 Talk at Univ. of Cambridge, 2014
  5. "Reflections on the Environmental Futures Dialogue from Tim O'Riordan | Environmental Futures Dialogue". blogs.cardiff.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 13 February 2014.
  6. Google Scholar, Jan 2018.
  7. "CSERGE - Groups and Centres - UEA" (PDF).
  8. "Home". sd-commission.org.uk.
  9. "Awards & appointments | Oxford Today". www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 6 June 2014.