My friend and colleague Roger Hammond, who has died aged 56 after suffering from cancer, was a tireless and inspirational environmentalist. He brought disparate people together – government officials, oil industry executives, community groups, members of the public – to provide them with the tools to help them solve environmental and social problems.
Roger was born in London and attended Dulwich college. He went to teacher training college in Birmingham, and taught science at secondary level until the mid 1980s, when he left to become director of education at the Earthlife Foundation, working on the Korup National Park conservation programme in Cameroon. When Earthlife collapsed in 1987, Roger founded Living Earth Foundation.
Over the years, the impact of his efforts was felt across the globe. In 1992 he inspired a group of young professionals in Venezuela to carry out an environmental education project; in 1996 that team created Fundación Tierra Viva, today one of the leading Venezuelan environmental NGOs. In Cameroon, Nigeria, Russia, Alaska, Iran, Uganda, Mali and many other countries, as well as in Wales, where he lived for the past six years, Roger’s legacy continues in the work of Living Earth and the many people who were moved to action by his passionate belief that shared learning and action could lead to a better world.
Almost alone among environmentalists in the mid-1990s, Roger sought to put pressure on the private sector to act on its professed environmental and social principles for the general good, rather than for PR impact. This led, in 2008, to a pioneering partnership with the oil company Shell, achieving significant changes in company actions and attitudes.
Roger was a lover of music, an interest that led him to Sonia, a professional cellist, whom he married in 2005. Indeed, he was an enthusiastic lover of life: excellent chef, wonderful host to the numerous friends, family members and visitors who stayed with him and Sonia at their home in Powys. He was also a curious seeker of truth not bound by convention, who found joy in discovering wisdom in different cultures.
Roger is survived by Sonia, his mother, Lillian, and his sister, Lesley.