Will Steffen (d.)
Patron - global change
Will Steffen (1947-2023) was an intellectual patron of Stable Planet Alliance and among the most influential thinkers of this past century. Emeritus professor of environment and society at the Australian National University (ANU), Will Steffen was one of the godfathers of the ‘stable planet’ paradigm and the concepts of planetary boundaries and tipping points in our earth systems. He had a long, deep, wonderful history in international global change research, serving 1998-2004 as executive director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), based in Stockholm, and before that as executive officer of IGBP's Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems project. Will was the inaugural director of ANU’s Climate Change Institute, 2008-12, and director of its Fenner School of Environment and Society. He served as science adviser to the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change (2004-11) and its Climate Commission (2011-13), chair of the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee, co-director of the Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) initiative, and member of the Australian Capital Territory’s Climate Change Council. At the time of his battle with pancreatic cancer, he was one of the most outspoken and revered climate councilors at Australia's Climate Council.
At Stable Planet Alliance, we had many wonderful chats with Will. He was an absolutely lovely person and a deep critical thinker. We are so grateful that, despite already battling cancer, he agreed enthusiastically to join our team in some way. His interests were broad within sustainability and earth system science, emphasizing climate science, adaptation in land systems, incorporation of human processes in earth system modelling and analysis - and the history and future of the relationship between humans and the rest of nature. His death is a terrible loss to humanity.