My name is Burke Burnett. I am Executive Secretary of the Pacific Science Association (PSA), a science network based in Honolulu, Hawaii that promotes international multidisciplinary sustainability science research and collaboration throughout the Asia-Pacific region. I also founded and am Executive Director of Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance (IPCA), which carries out biodiversity conservation field projects in Indonesia and New Guinea.
I lived in Washington DC for 15 years and have an M.A. in International Relations with a focus on Economics and Asian Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). I worked at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History for nearly four years, and another four years at Conservation International where I developed professional expertise in biodiversity science.
The Asia-Pacific region has been my professional focus for over two decades, and I lived and worked in several Asian countries for several years including many extended visits. I'm currently also involved in climate change research, and I'm interested in how to better communicate science to the public. I've had a unique career trajectory that's led me to a very lucky career niche, and I've had amazing experiences in some pretty crazy places. I approach projects from a collaborative, non-zero sum perspective, and think that's the best way to bring about possible emergent properties in whatever kind of endeavor you're working on.
A few years ago, I rediscovered my inner space geek after decades of (mostly) not thinking about it that much. I realized that I am indeed an "orphan of Apollo" (I date myself by saying that I actually remember Apollo 13 as it occured in real life and not on the silver screen). Now I'm passionate about the future of space exploration. We may not be going to Mars tomorrow, but there's a major realignment going on, and I see it as an exciting opportunity for the future of human and robotic spaceflight.
I think a lot about global sustainability issues - and more importantly, I am fortunate to work with lots of people who have even more specialized knowledge than I do - and because of that I am more convinced now than ever that traditional conservation approaches must be augmented by major game-changing technological innovations. We're at 7 billion people now, headed to 10 billion or beyond. Food, water, energy, and ecosystem sustainability are emerging as the most important issues for the planet, and while I don't think that space can (or should!) be a tool to address over-population, I am interested in the role of space technologies for advancing resource availability and sustainable living back on Earth.
I'm a member of these organizations: The Planetary Society, National Space Society, Pacific Science Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, and The Long Now Foundation.
Enough. Here's how to find me.
I've got a complicated professional life with more than one email address, but for space-related purposes, the best way to reach me is burkeburnett (at) me.com.