The Rolex Awards for Enterprise
Gary J. Martin has earned a reputation worldwide for pioneering the field of ethnobotany, the study of the interaction between people and their natural environment. For Martin, biological and cultural diversity are “inseparable twins”.
After receiving degrees in biology and anthropology in the early 1980s, Martin set out to demonstrate “the inextricable links between our social and ecological worlds”. He worked for years with indigenous communities in Mexico before co-founding People and Plants, an international initiative combining ethnobotany and the sustainable use of plants.
In 1996, he received his doctorate in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and moved to Marrakech. Three years later, with his characteristic entrepreneurial spirit, he founded the Global Diversity Foundation which, under his direction, is helping indigenous people preserve their agricultural, biological and cultural heritage through an array of micro-projects encompassing research, training and social action.
Martin has taught and held workshops all over the world and for the past decade has served as a research fellow and lecturer at the U.K.’s University of Kent. From 2010, he will be a fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environmental Studies in Munich. He is the author of Ethnobotany (1995), a key reference manual in this discipline.
Published in 2010