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Sustainability Events

“2050: Can We get to a Sustainable World by Then?"

Biodiversity Outcomes

Peter Kareiva

  • Director, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (or IoES), University of California-Los Angeles
  • Chair, Science Cabinet, The Nature Conservancy

We face severe environmental threats. But stories of human footprints that exceed 1.5 earths, prophecies of the extinction of man, total loss of biodiversity, and planetary boundaries are neither solid scientifically nor effective communication. Similarly fighting symbolic environmental battles, one court case at a time, is just as myopic as corporations can be when they maximize short-term profits. A better way to approach the problem is to ask what world do we want to live in in 2050? And what will it take to get to our desired world?

Prior to his appointment at University of California-Los Angeles, Peter Kareiva was Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy for a dozen years, Director of the Division of Conservation Biology at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries lab in Seattle for three years, and a Professor of Zoology at the University of Washington for twenty years. Peter began his career as a mathematical biologist who also did fieldwork on plants and insects around the world. His early work focused on ecological theory and he gradually shifted to agriculture, biotechnology, risk assessment, and conservation. He now mixes policy and social science with natural science, and further believes that today’s environmental challenges require a strong dose of the humanities and private sector engagement.

Never by himself, but with terrific colleagues and the support of generous philanthropists, he co-founded the Natural Capital Project, NatureNet Fellows, and Science for Nature and People or SNAP. He has written or edited nine books and nearly 200 articles, including a conservation biology textbook. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Science. It all began with education at a Jesuit High School in upstate New York, followed by Duke University, and a PhD from Cornell University in 1981. There were interludes of consulting for engineering firms and for the Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations and the United Nations Environmental Programme, and some teaching overseas—always driven by a certain wanderlust.

Thursday, October 29, 2015
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.