Making Connections With Dr. David Jones

Making Connections With Dr. David Jones takes you on a unprecedented ecological tour of North Carolina.

Dr. Jones, director of the North Carolina Zoological Park, guides you through the high stakes at risk if we fail to protect the environment as part of economic development.

This UNC-TV documentary invites you to make the connection between environmental quality and your life.

David JonesAbout Dr. Jones

Dr. David M. Jones is a veterinarian and zoologist by training and for 12 years has been Director of the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, a division of the State’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He was previously CEO of the Zoological Society of London and has spent his entire career, approaching 40 years, in the wildlife and zoo management field.

Dr. Jones attended the Royal Veterinary College in London. He has degrees in animal Physiology and Veterinary Science, is a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and a Fellow of the Institute of Biology.

In the 1970s and 1980s particularly, he had extensive involvement in the planning, construction, and management of many zoos, zoo parks, and wildlife areas particularly in Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and southern Asia. He was responsible for a range of fieldwork in Africa, the Middle East, China, and Sri Lanka.

He has been on the Councils of both World Wildlife Fund U.S. and U.K. and was a former Chairman of Fauna and Flora International. Currently, he is a member of the Species Committee of WWF U.S. He also was Chairman of one of the world’s largest international animal welfare organizations, the Brooke Hospital for Animals.

Currently, he is Chairman of the Yadkin Pee Dee Lakes Project, the principal non-governmental economic development group for the rural counties of central North Carolina and is on a range of conservation-related boards in the State including Audubon and Environmental Defense.

Dr. David Jones has published over 100 scientific papers, mainly on veterinary subjects, zoo management, and wildlife conservation and has given keynote lectures on conservation topics to major conferences around the world. He is listed in Who’s Who (UK), Who’s Who in America, and Debrett’s People of Today.

Background Info

About a quarter of all our permanent jobs in North Carolina are ultimately dependent on sound environmental stewardship. Jobs in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy production and distribution, tourism, furniture making, and the associated retail trades, to name just the more obvious ones, rely both on the maintenance of healthy natural resources and on the integrity of the life support systems of clean air and water. Many businesses and the skilled people they need will stay here only if the quality of life they experience, including their natural surroundings, remains intact and attractive.

In recent years there has been a slow increase in the numbers of people who recognize, largely for aesthetic and ethical reasons, the value of maintaining clean, functional natural systems. However, most surveys suggest that about 80% of the population have either little interest in or little knowledge about the intimate connection between the environment and the economy. They don’t see how or why their current lifestyle could possibly have a long-term impact on the environment. They don’t see that more conscious consideration of environmental care could have a very positive impact on their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren.

Television presents us either with beautifully crafted scenes of a natural world as it should be, often leaving viewers with a sense that someone else is taking care of the issues they vaguely hear about. At the other extreme, particularly in news programs, a picture of doom and gloom leaves people in a numbed state, unconvinced and apathetic, thinking that there is nothing they can do about it.

Probably because interesting television is difficult to make on this subject, we rarely see programs that make the dollar and job connection with the need to be much more proactive as individuals about how we as a community plan our futures. Community plans, particularly in a State that is going to see a 50% increase in population, must be based on protecting our natural world and the essential services it provides.

Those in our middle years inherited a world with a great deal of choice. We could choose where we lived, what industries we built and worked for, what land we used, and where we used it. We could choose the ways in which we interact with each other and with other nations. Today though, if we don’t more seriously and intelligently consider the interrelationship between our environment and our present and future economy, we will drastically reduce the choices available to coming generations.

North Carolina is still at a point where it largely maintains that all around enviable quality of life, but we are just at the juncture where, if we do not change the way we think about this relationship and about what our current decisions and actions will lead to for the future, we will find that those actions in simply maintaining the status quo will dramatically effect our long-term economic opportunities.

He has a special interest in the need to make environmental concerns relevant to peoples’s everyday lives and to show the close connection between our environment and economy.