Linus Blomqvist

Director of Research

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Linus is Director of Research and a member of the Breakthrough Advisory Board. Linus’s work is centered on how to preserve the world’s ecological heritage in a world of seven going on nine billion increasingly well off people. This has led him to review the science behind the planetary boundaries hypothesis, resulting in a report covered by The Economist and Scientific American, among others. This work also led to the publication in the top-ranked journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution of a paper challenging the idea of planetary-scale tipping points in the biosphere. Most recently, Linus was the lead author of a critical evaluation, published in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, of the methodology behind the Ecological Footprint and the oft-cited claim that humanity is in a state of global ecological overshoot. His current research, in collaboration with the Global Ecology Lab at University of Adelaide where Linus is a Visiting Fellow, focuses on how technological progress has decoupled humanity’s environmental footprint from economic growth, and how this process could usher in peaking and declining footprints in the 21st century (read more in this article).

Linus joined Breakthrough by way of a summer fellowship with Breakthrough Generation, prior to which he studied geography at Cambridge University in the UK. Linus has also worked extensively for conservation organizations in various countries, including the UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the European branch of BirdLife International in Brussels. This work explored the interface between conservation and climate change, and included science and policy briefs on biofuels, climate-friendly farming, and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change. Linus’s interest in conservation and wildlife has also taken him into the field, with experiences ranging from integrated conservation and development projects in rural Ecuador, raptor migration in the Mediterranean, livelihoods and endangered species conservation in the highlands of Kenya, biological surveys in Mediterranean wetlands, to bird banding on the Baltic Sea island of Öland. Outside work, Linus has also had the privilege of visiting some of the world’s most spectacular sites for nature and wildlife, including the Brazilian Pantanal, the Galapagos Islands, various corners of the Amazon Basin, the Andes, Serengeti, and Anatolia.

Linus was born and raised in Sweden but has been in self-imposed exile for nearly a decade. He speaks four languages including French and Spanish, and enjoys running, road biking, and literature.