“Internationally Distinguished Ecologist Dr John Todd to Share about his Life Work”

People interested in economic and environmental sustainability, in the health of our oceans and waterways, in ecological design and ecological restoration will recognize the name of one of the giants in these fields, Dr. John Todd.  Slocan River Streamkeepers and Kootenay Permacuture Institute are honoured and happy to bring the Ontario-born ecologist to Nelson for a presentation on the evening of May 30.

After doing graduate work at McGill University and earning a PhD in marine biology at the University of Michigan, Todd joined the famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Massachusetts). In the early ‘70s he, his wife, Nancy and Bill McLarney co-founded the New Alchemy Institute.  The Institute garnered much media attention for its exploration of synergistic systems involving elegant biological cycling, in conjunction with cutting-edge alternative-energy sources and innovative building designs.  The “mini ecosystems” or “bioshelters” were designed to provide food for people and to recycle human wastes.

The Todds moved into work focused on ocean and freshwater concerns, for both developed and developing regions of the world.  A strong involvement with wastewater treatment during this period.  The concept of “Eco-machines,” developed by John Todd, is defined as living technologies that treat and purify wastewater and heal damaged eco-systems while producing useful yields that can include food and other beneficial plants or animals.

In Massachusetts, John and his team designed and installed some living technologies that are cleaning a canal and river that have been polluted by years of leaching oil (including Bunker C oil) and other pollutants.  A similar project was implemented in a highly polluted canal in the city of Fuzhou, China.

John and Nancy Jack Todd also became co-founders of Ocean Arks International a non-profit research and outreach organization working on the protection and restoration of the world’s waters.  They are working on a design for a solar and wind powered boat that includes living technologies that has the potential to help clean the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

John Todd has won numerous awards over the years. In 2008, he was the first winner of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, which is annually bestowed on “the best idea to help save humanity.”  The entry was “Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia.” This project laid out a strategy for transforming one and a half million acres of strip-mined lands in Appalachia into a harmonious self-sustaining community.

Todd, who has also been a university lecturer and professor, has a fascinating new book, Healing Earth: An Ecologist’s Journey of Innovation and Stewardship, released in January 2019.  It documents his journey working in both ecological design and innovative ecological restoration projects around the world.



“Healing Earth, an Evening Presentation with John Todd” will take place in Nelson, Thursday May 30th, 2019, at 7pm in the Shambhala Music & Performance Hall, Selkirk College, 700 Tenth Street.  Tickets can be purchased online here:


or for more info, contact Slocan River Streamkeepers



Dr John Todd visiting Crooked Horn Farm Wetland Restoration Project in Winlaw, BC  with Gregoire Lamoureux May 30, 2017