Sat, Apr 04, 2009 - Page 16 News List

[ENVIRONMENT] Cleaning up our act

Conservationist Peter Raven will give a lecture today on the importance of maintaining the planet’s biodiversity

By Noah Buchan  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Leaders from the world’s most powerful countries met in London this week to address the global economic meltdown. Much like solving the financial crisis, business and political leaders must unite to reverse the rapid extinction of the planet’s biodiversity. That’s the point botanist and conservationist Peter H. Raven made at a symposium in Washington earlier this year and it’s also the topic he will address today in a lecture titled Are We Saving Them or Ourselves? Global Action on the Rescue of Endangered Biodiversity. The talk will be held at the National Central Library as part of the Lung Ying-tai Cultural Foundation’s (龍應台文化基金會) MediaTek lectures and will be conducted in English with simultaneous interpretation in Mandarin.

“The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment. We can’t … rebuild the economy and then hope to turn to environmental problems later,” Raven said.

Raven, who has visited Taiwan on several occasions and has worked with the Academia Sinica’s Biodiversity Research Center, says the nation has to protect its flora and fauna.

“Microchips will not sustain the economy of [Taiwan] over the long run, but biodiversity might, and certainly will continue to be an important element,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Hailed by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet” for his conservation work, Raven is at the forefront of research on preserving endangered plants and animals. He is president of the Missouri Botanical Garden, was home secretary of the US National Academy of Sciences for 12 years and was recently appointed to the National Geographic Society’s board of trustees. He obtained a doctorate in botany from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1960 and holds honorary degrees from a number of universities around the world.

LECTURE NOTES:

WHO: Peter H. Raven

WHAT: MediaTek Lectures: Are We Saving Them or Ourselves? Global Action on the Rescue of Endangered Biodiversity

WHERE: National Central Library Conference Hall (國家圖書館國際會講廳), 20 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei City (台北市中山南路20號)

WHEN: Today from 2pm to 4pm

TICKETS: Free, but those attending must register in advance by calling (02) 3322-4907 online at www.civictaipei.org. The lecture is conducted in English with simultaneous interpretation in Mandarin


The lecture will be moderated by Li Chia-wei (李家維), editor-in-chief of the Taiwanese edition of Scientific American (科學人) and professor at National Tsing Hua University.

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