Dr. Foster was deeply invested in the resilience of life on the planet, and improving the quality of life for all living things. His principled and steadfast thought-leadership anchors the scientific research and philanthropic commitment of the Harold Foster Foundation. More than 40 years as a geomorphologist, professor of medical geography, consultant to the United Nations and NATO in disaster planning, and avid researcher has culminated in the formation of the Harold Foster Foundation.
A Canadian by choice, he was born in Tunstall, Yorkshire, England where he was educated at the Hull Grammar School and University College London. While at university, he specialized in Geology and Geography, earning a B.Sc. in 1964 and a Ph.D. in 1968.
He was a faculty member in the Department of Geography, University of Victoria, from 1967 to 2008. As a tenured professor, he authored or edited over 300 publications, the majority of which focused on reducing disaster losses or identifying the causes of chronic degenerative and infectious diseases. His numerous books include Disaster Planning: The Preservation of Life and Property, Springer Verlag: New York; Health, Disease and the Environment, Belhaven Press: London, and Reducing Cancer Mortality: A Geographical Perspective, Western Geographical Press: Victoria. He has also written 6 books in the What Really Causes…series, including those on AIDS, Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia, SIDS, and Breast Cancer. He also initiated both the International and Canadian Western Geographical Series, and served as their editor for over 35 years until his retirement from the University of Victoria.
He was a member of The Explorers Club and numerous academic organizations including The New York Academy of Sciences, The Royal Geographical Society and The Royal Society of Literature. He was also a member of the board of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. He has been a consultant to numerous organizations, including the United Nations, NATO and the governments of Canada, Ontario, and British Columbia. Dr. Foster was also a member of the Science Advisory Panel for the Healthy Water Association and the British Charitable Foundation Health Empowerment Through Nutrition HETN.
The impact of his work is only beginning to be felt globally and humanity will be better and stronger because of it. Harry passed away peacefully in Victoria BC after a brief illness on August 15, 2009. There is a quote by Herbert Spence (1820-1903) that was a sort of guiding light in Harry’s life: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is condemnation without investigation.”
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
~ attributed to Pericles