John Paling has effectively had 6 careers

Biologist & Professor of Wildlife

John Paling earned his doctorate degree from Birmingham University in England. He went on to teach biology at Oxford University in England and later in the United States at the Universities of California and Florida. He was awarded an honorary degree by Oxford University, in England, and a Regents' Professorship by the University of California.

Wildlife Film Maker

For over 20 years Dr. Paling was a world-renowned wildlife photographer. His credits include Emmy-awarded programs for the National Geographic Society, Nova and the BBC. This extensive filming experience continues to provide benefits for his audiences today. First, his skills as a producer of major documentaries enables him to communicate even complicated topics in ways that the general public can easily understand. Secondly, when appropriate, he is able to use excerpts from his animal films (narrated live) to serve as memorable metaphors for illustrating the main points of his message.

Corporate Speaker and Consultant

For many years, John Paling was a proven resource to major corporations and associations including many Fortune 500 companies. He has made many appearances for the National Geographic Society at Constitution Hall in Washington, and for the Young Presidents Organization worldwide. He specialized in drawing out the lessons from nature that can apply to our lives today. With over 50 films to his credit, he can always find wondrous and entertaining examples of topics such as What makes successful partnerships in Nature; How to achieve effective communication; and How to deal with change. His fascination with seeking “Lessons from Nature” started in the1970s when was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship to travel the world to study and film “Aggression in animals and man”.

President of The Environmental Institute

Recognizing that you can change people's behavior by carrots and sticks, John felt that there were many good and effective environmental groups that were using "sticks" to encourage a greater environmental responses by businesses, so he decided to help the process forward by using the carrots approach. He patented a Good Earthkeeping Seal that was awarded by a mixed group of environmentalists and environmentally sensitive business leaders.

In the end, it became prohibitively expensive to find experts to evaluate the many diverse claims from the corporate world. From his experiences, he learned valuable lessons about human nature.

Ambassador John Paling
Seeking lessons for today from Thomas Jackson’s accounts of his experiences during the American Civil War


John Paling is recognized as a pioneer in the field of effectively communicating risks to the general public. He helps businesses, associations and the public refocus their attention on the realities instead of the exaggerated perceptions of what might happen in life.

He is the originator of a "Richter Scale for Risks" which is covered in his popular book "Up To Your Armpits in Alligators?". More recently, he travels internationally teaching doctors how to communicate risks and benefits to patients as part of the informed consent process.

He has a cartoon-enriched book “Helping Patients Understand Risks” which explains how doctors think of risks differently from patients. In his words, “Medics are from Mars and Patients are from Pluto”

Ambassador for Thomas Jackson

A cheerful new citizen of USA,
November 22, 1996
Providentially perhaps, all John’s previous careers contribute to what is currently absorbing his professional life. He is now dedicated to publicizing the existence of his great, great uncle’s long lost letters about the civil war and the abolition of slavery. But in addition, as a newcomer to American history, he is bringing up fresh questions about some of the crucial issues in a democratic society. For example, what rights should citizens have to give up when wars are declared? And how to seek the truth about a situation before making up your own mind as to who is right? And what to fight for? And when Peace is a better alternative than War?

John is still exploring these fields for himself and welcomes hearing the views of others who are traveling on this rapidly changing planet with him.

Sample start of one of Paling’s entertaining performances (on a totally different topic) see