Paul Alan Cox
|Paul Alan Cox|
|Known for||Founder of Seacology|
Dr. Paul Alan Cox is an ethnobotanist whose scientific research focuses on the ecology of island plants and the uses of plants by island peoples. After receiving his B.S. in Botany from Brigham Young University, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to read for his M.Sc. in Ecology at the University of Wales at Bangor. He received a Danforth Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship for his Ph.D. studies at Harvard University in Biology. He subsequently was awarded a Miller Research Fellowship at the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science at the University of California, Berkeley and later became a University of Melbourne Research Fellow in Australia. Although trained in evolutionary ecology, Cox became increasingly focused on ethnomedicine after his mother died from breast cancer. He served for years as professor and dean at Brigham Young University and later became the first King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science at the Swedish Agricultural University and the University of Uppsala, a visiting professorship established by the Royal Academy of Sciences, for an academic year. For seven years he was Director of the Congressionally Chartered National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) in Hawaii and Florida, and is currently Executive Director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He is the author of over 180 scientific papers and reviews, and was chosen by TIME as one of eleven “Heroes of Medicine” for his search for new medicines from plants. In 1997 he received the Goldman Environmental Prize for the conservation efforts described in his book Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest ( New York: W.H. Freeman), which has been translated into German, Japanese and Samoan. He speaks a variety of island languages and is internationally renowned for his advocacy of indigenous peoples. Cox lived with his family for years in the village of Falealupo on Savai'i island in Samoa where he helped create a covenant with chiefs to protect their lowland rainforest from logging. In 1988, he was bestowed a matai chief title by Falealupo in honour of his work.
Dr. Cox founded and is chairman of the environmental non-profit organization, Seacology, located in Berkeley, California. He is also the Director of the Institute of Ethnomedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he is searching for a cure for ALS.
A prominent Mormon voice for biological conservation, Cox helped defeat the MX missile project proposed for Utah and Nevada, led the successful effort to establish the 50th U.S. National Park, The National Park of American Samoa, and was a delegate to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Lausanne, Switzerland to protect flying fox species in Pacific islands. He served an LDS mission in Samoa and is active in his church.
- Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. New York: Scientific American Library/ W.H. Freeman (1997).
- Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest. New York: W.H. Freeman (1997).
- TIME: The Plant Hunter
- Science Magazine: Will Tribal Knowledge Survive the Millennium?
- Congressional Record: Eni F.H. Faleomavaega
- Being a Mormon Environmentalist
- Mormon Scholars Testify