After working as a film script reader in Los Angeles, an aid worker in Uganda, and a research assistant and junior journalist working on issues including human rights and the arming of Iraq by foreign powers, he became co-ordinator of the Green College Centre at Oxford University from 1992 to 1994, which focussed on climate change and other environmental issues. In 1995 and 1996 he worked on Costing the Earth, the flagship environment program on BBC Radio 4.
From 1996 to 2002 he wrote on topics such as: energy, science, environment and human rights for The Financial Times, The Independent, New Scientist, The Ecologist, Environmental Finance, Green Futures (as senior correspondent) and other newspapers, magazines, and broadcast media. In 1999 he won the IUCN-Reuters award for best environmental writing in western and central Europe. From 1996 to 2002 he was also a consultant, analyst and writer for government, commercial and non-profit organisations.
From 2002 to 2005 he was a senior editor at OpenDemocracy, a project for open global politics, where he commissioned, edited and contributed to analysis and debate on globalisation, security, the environment, and the politics of climate change.
Publications include: A Pacific Odyssey, Debating Globalisation, Fragile Earth, Heat and Light - UK energy and climate policy in context, Potential Energy, and a background paper for the 2007 United Nations Human Development Report.. Recent publications include Hypnagogia, and Barely Imagined Beings (an essay),. His Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary , published by Granta in October 2012, covers an eclectic range of creatures whose development and variance provide an exegesis on the human condition. This book orchestrates an impressive spread of literary and scientific knowledge enabling Henderson to reach his environmentalist philosophy in the context of religious and artistic endeavor. It is a dense well-written book, slow reading but thoroughly pleasurable and worthwhile.
He is a contributing editor and member of the editorial advisory board at chinadialogue, and a member of the advisory group for Artists' Project Earth. . He keeps an occasional blog called Grains of Sand . He received the Roger Deakin Award from the Society of Authors in 2009, and the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award in 2010.
One of his favourite sayings comes from Franz Kafka: "There is hope; but not for you". This is followed swiftly by Bertram Russell's "only on the firm foundation of despair can the soul's habitation be safely built," leading to Henderson's own assertion of "the value of the 'little' Earth we have actually in front of us" (see Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary, pp.91-96, whose conclusion finds "Evidence enough that there are miracles in life.")
- ^ Green College Centre for Environmental Policy and Understanding
- ^ Costing the Earth
- ^ The politics of climate change
- ^ A Pacific Odyssey
- ^ Debating Globalisation
- ^ Fragile Earth
- ^ Heat and Light
- ^ Potential Energy
- ^ United Nations Human Development Report
- ^ Hypnagogia
- ^ Barely Imagined Beings
- ^ The Book Barely Imagined Beings
- ^ chinadialogue
- ^ Artists' Project Earth
- ^ Grains of Sand
- Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
- University of Oxford
- BBC Radio 4
- The Financial Times
- The Independent
- New Scientist
- The Ecologist
- Environmental Finance