Liam Heneghan is a professor of environmental science and ecosystem ecology at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. He is also co-director of the university's Institute for Nature and Culture. In "Ten Things Wrong With Environmental Thought & What We Can Do To Change Them: An Environmental Manifesto," he asks if the environmentalism that we have received from the foundational figures in environmental thought provides us with the proper ground for an appropriate response to today's ecological problems. In a series of ten provocations he suggests we need a radical reassessment of our understanding of people's relation to the natural world.
Heneghan specializes in biological invasions, ecological restoration, arthropod ecology, and soil ecology. His research has covered European soil foodwebs, and their vulnerability to acid rain, as well as interbiome comparisons of nutrient dynamics and decomposition of North American and tropical forest ecosystems. Currently, Heneghan and his pupils are putting effort into researching, preserving, and restoring Midwestern ecosystems.
In 2010, Heneghan jumpstarted the DeepMap project, where he - along with a small group of students - count and gather data for every tree in Lincoln Park. Further, he intends to plant millions of trees over the upcoming years. As co-chair of the science team of the Chicago Wilderness Association, Heneghan and his team garnered $435,325 from the National Science Foundation to research how people are affected by the degree of nature in their environment, while trying to see how resource planning models influence biodiversity.
In January, 2011, Heneghan co-authored Brute Neighbors: Urban Nature Poetry, Prose, and Photography, an anthology of urban nature, poetry, prose, and photography, with poet Chris Green. The work encourages environmental awareness by exposing the beauty of biodiversity, and explains that we can - paradoxically - turn to the city for answers, through careful urban design.