Dr. James is a biologist and policy specialist of international renown with thirty-nine years of professional experience in several Caribbean, African and Pacific countries. She headed for ten years, Trinidad and Tobago’s Wildlife Section of the Forestry Division and subsequently had the signal honor of being selected by the United Nations Development Programme to work as the world’s first, of forty-one, Global Sustainable Development Advisors agreed at the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development. Her work in this capacity covered the Caribbean region for eight years. She is a married mother of five successful university graduates and a grandmother of eleven. Dr. James is currently Chairman of the Guardian Life Wildlife Trust (GLWT), Life Member of the Board of the Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC) which she chaired between 2003-2009, and Board Member of the Bishop Anstey High School /Trinity College East (BATCE).
Early retirement from formal work at age 51, in October 2001, enabled Dr. James to continue pursuing more directly, her passion for assisting people and communities in pursuing their individual and collective forms of development. Her efforts focused mainly on continuing the work she initiated during the late 1980s on the east and north coast beaches of Trinidad on sustainable turtle conservation, using nest viewing as a basis for eco-tourism while enhancing other forms of rural development. These included expanding community linkages in the work of the AWNC and facilitating the building of rural capacity for saving the unique Trinidad Piping Guan or Pawi through the GLWT. Some rural communities in north and east Trinidad have become self-sustaining and therefore economically viable, as a result of seminal efforts to stimulate ecotourism and other entrepreneurial activities initiated by Carol and her teams of colleagues more than two decades ago.
Dr. James was honored in 2011 by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) as one of its Honorary Distinguished Fellows and also by the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2011, as one of its 50 Distinguished Alumni, both for her contributions towards people-centered environmental management and sustainable development in Trinidad and Tobago.