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President’s Lecture series to explore climate change March 20

ISSUED: 2 March 2018
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens


The impact of climate change on biodiversity is the topic of the next Shepherd University President’s Lecture. Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, co-creator of the long-running PBS television series “Nature” and director of George Mason University’s Center for Biodiversity and Sustainability, will give a talk titled “A Wild Solution for Climate Change” on Tuesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. The event, part of Shepherd’s Lifelong Learning Program, is free and open to the public. The Shepherd University Foundation is sponsoring a reception after the lecture.

Lovejoy will discuss how the impacts of climate change on biodiversity are ubiquitous and dangerous, and how ecosystem restoration can make a significant contribution to addressing the challenge. Lovejoy is a conservation biologist who coined the term “biological diversity” and is credited with founding the field of climate change biology. He has served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. At the core of these many positions are his seminal ideas, which have formed and strengthened the field of conservation biology. In the 1980s, he brought international attention to the world’s tropical rainforests, in particular, the Brazilian Amazon, where he has worked since 1965. In 1980 he produced the first projection of global extinctions for the Global 2000 Report to the president. Lovejoy also developed the now ubiquitous “debt-for-nature” swap programs and led the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project.

Lovejoy serves as a senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation, has served as president and biodiversity chair of the Heinz Center for Science, senior advisor to the president of the United Nations Foundation, and as chief biodiversity advisor and lead specialist for environment for Latin America and the Caribbean for the World Bank. Lovejoy and Lee Hannah, senior fellow in Climate Change Biology at Conservation International’s Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, are working on a new book about climate change and biodiversity for Yale University Press.

Lovejoy has been awarded the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Ecology and Conservation Biology Category, and Blue Planet Prize. National Geographic appointed Lovejoy as a conservation fellow. From 2008-2013, he chaired the Scientific and Technical Panel (STAP) for the Global Environment Facility, which provides funding to developing countries to meet their obligations related to the international environmental conventions. Since 2013, he has served as senior advisor to the chair of STAP. He is currently serving as science envoy for the U.S. Department of State.

The President’s Lecture series continues on Tuesday, April 24, when Dr. Jonathan Pellish, NASA EEE parts manager at the Goddard Space Flight Center, will give a talk titled “The Sun and Outer Space as a Natural Hazard” at 6:30 p.m. in the Erma Ora Byrd Hall auditorium.

For more information about the President’s Lecture series, contact Karen Rice, director of continuing education and lifelong learning, at 304-876-5135 or

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