Born in Northern Ireland in 1965, in the beautiful city of Armagh, Keith is a scientist, writer, broadcaster, and, since 2010, the Director of the Biosphere Research Institute (www.biosri.org). Appointed to a lectureship in Ecology in 1997, Keith taught for 13 years at the prestigious College of Life Sciences in Dundee, writing many papers on a range of topics, from plant physiology to plant development, and from ecological succession to evolution (click here for a detailed list of his papers).
During this time Keith carried out field research across the planet, from Kenya to the Carpathian mountains, from the Scottish highlands to southwest Australia and from Vietnam to Trinidad. Throughout this time, he became aware of significant shortcomings in the traditional Dartwinian theory of evolution by natural selection. This culminated in the writing of his first book, in 2009, Shadows on the Cave Wall: A New Theory of Evolution. Key to his thinking was the role of the second law of thermodynamics, and he quickly realized that the repercussions of this work had radical implications for a wide range of fields, and, in particular, sustainability.
Spending more and more time discussing and delivering seminars on his new thinking, in 2010 Keith left the University to commit himself to writing and developing his ideas on sustainability in a broader context. His work now includes working with business schools (he is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds Business School), writing papers on sustainability, design and evolution, giving seminars and short courses at a number of universities, including MENDELU in Brno, collaborating with a number of academics on research, and speaking at a wide range of public events throughout the UK. 2011 saw the publication of his second major book, Escape from Bubbleworld: Seven Curves to Save the Earth which sets a radical new agenda for the human race. Keith is also very committed to engaging young people with the subject of biology, and has developed a wide range of CPDs for teachers, working with Dundee City Council in providing role-play exercises to support the curriculum. In 2009, the council adopted his teaching resource book, Putting Colour into Your Curriculum, in all of its secondary schools.
His research focuses on the application of thermodynamics to our understanding of our role on the planet, and, ultimately, our identity. Studying ecosystem structure and function, evolutionary biology, sustainability, design, theology and economics, he is an advocate of a transductionist approach (where thermodynamics interacts with different levels of organization differently, which then interact with each other, and ultimately a maximum entropic production is achieved by the system as a whole and by each level of organization), that is intermediate between reductionist and holistic thinking, and explores all of his areas of interest as outcomes of functional diffusion. He views emergence and natural selection as epi-phenomena, fundamentally explicable as clouded perceptions of energetic transduction. He is a functionalist rather than a formist. Fundamentally, he believes that human dignity can only be found within our ecology.
Keith is married to Marion, and they have a five year old son, Matthew. Keith and Marion are also foster carers, and have numerous children coming and going as part of their family at any one time. His hobbies include playing very scratchy blues guitar and exploring the beautiful land of Scotland, with its many lochs, islands and mountains. He is active in many causes that seek to protect the natural and human heritage of Scotland.
Recorded at Greenbelt 2012: eden, 25 Aug 2012, 3.30pm
Recorded at Greenbelt 2012: GTV, 25 Aug 2012, 7.00pm
Recorded at Greenbelt 2011: Kitchen, 28 Aug 2011, 20:00
Recorded at Greenbelt 2011: Bethlehem, 27 Aug 2011, 09:30
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