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David Johns has been an advocate for large-scale conservation for many decades and is extremely embarrassed about the limited progress made by the conservation movement as a whole. As a member of the board of Marine Conservation Institute he advocates for the Blue Parks Initiative, an effective effort to create a global system of strictly protected marine refuges where life can recover. In the terrestrial sphere he has been involved in large-scale conservation projects in the Russian Far East, Australia, Europe, southern Africa and throughout the Americas.

David has written and spoken widely on the integration of science and advocacy and served on the board of governors of the Society for Conservation Biology and is a co-founder of the Conservation Biology Institute. He is author of A New Conservation Politics (Wiley 2009), a guide to how conservationists can become more effective at ensuring that science and conservation values influence policy. He has published in Conservation Biology, Environmental Ethics, Wild Earth, Science, Rewilding, Biological Conservation among others and has authored op-ed pieces and news analyses. He is recipient of the Denver Zoological Foundation’s Conservation Award, 2007. In 2019 he published Conservation Politics: The Last Anti-Colonial Battle about lifting the unjust burdens humans impose on the Earth and other species.

He has degrees in Political Science and Anthropology from Portland State University and in Political Science and Law from Columbia University where he was also an International Fellow, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and earned a Parker Certificate in Comparative Law. He has taught courses at the Institute for Policy Studies and at Oregon State University in addition to 39 years at Portland State University.