China boasts not only the largest percentage of the world’s population at nearly 19 percent, but also one of the Earth’s richest, most diverse floras. Yet its economic rise as an industrial nation and its population density, with the associated environmental degradation, put this biodiversity at risk. Add in climate change and it is a recipe for disaster. Professor Peter Raven, a leading botanist, advocate for the conservation of biodiversity, and one of the co-editors of The Flora of China, a joint Chinese-American census of all the plants of China, is uniquely qualified to assess the consequences of over-population, industrial pollution, economic inequalities, and natural resource exploitation in China—consequences not limited to that country but affecting the entire global environment. In this talk, he considers what it means for humanity to lose thousands of species to extinction, many before they are known or described by scientists. He presents his thoughts on reversing environmental degradation in China and around the globe and what is required to move all people toward an ethic of conservation and securing sustainability.
BIO: Peter Raven
Peter H. Raven is one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity. For four decades, he headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured into a world-class center for botanical research and education, and horticultural display. He retired as president in 2010 and assumed the role of president emeritus and consultant through 2014. Described by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment.