John Adams

Emeritus Professor of Geography at University College London

John was a member of the original Board of Directors of Friends of the Earth in the early 1970s and has been involved in debates about environmental issues ever since. John says, “I am intrigued by the persistence of attitudes to risks. For the past 30 years, the same arguments, slogans and insults have been shouted past each other by the participants (or their descendants) in disputes about issues for which conclusive evidence is lacking”. His current work on both risk and transport issues seeks to understand these attitudes and the reasons for their persistence, in the hope of transforming shouting matches into more constructive dialogues.

Risk in a Hypermobile World encapsulates his present research interests. John notes “my attraction to transport problems grew out of my involvement in the 1970s and 80s as an objector at public inquiries, on behalf of Friends of the Earth, to the British Government’s road building plans”. Hypermobility: too much of a good thing summarises his current take on transport problems, or Cross-Thinking about Sustainability: hypermobility – a challenge to governance for an extended version.

In the last few years his interest in risk has broadened to include its financial aspects. In 2006 he was elected an Honourary Member of the Institute of Risk Management, and his essay Risk management: it’s not rocket science – it’s more complicated was awarded the Inaugural Roger Miller Essay Prize by AIRMIC (the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers).

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