Tom currently works at the interface between research and grassroots sustainability action, particularly in permaculture, Transition, and community energy. He is a worker-director at Northern Community Power, a Community Interest Company that works at the interface of renewable energy and community development.

He co-founded and co-coordinates the Transition Research Network, is an active member of the Permaculture Association’s Research Advisory Board.

Tom completed a doctorate in Environmental Anthropology at the University of Kent in 2002, the first in this subject to be awarded at a British university. His doctoral thesis was based on two years’ fieldwork on indigenous resource use and associated knowledge systems in Guyana, which later fed into the development of the monograph ‘Edges, Frontiers and Fringes’, due to be published by Berghahn books.

His subsequent academic career included several years as a lecturer in Anthropology at Durham University, and researcher in the university’s Energy Institute and the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action. He has also contributed guest lectures to programmes in Human Ecology at Kent University and Sustainable Living at York University.