Preserving Life On Earth with Thomas Lovejoy

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Lovejoy speaks with calm deliberation about a subject he feels very passionate about, the environment and bio systems. He talks about leading trips to the Amazon with such influential people as former Vice President Al Gore, Tim Wirth, who was then Under Secretary for Global Affairs in the U.S. State Dept. under Clinton, the late Senator John Heinz, conservationist Teresa Heinz Kerry, and Ben Bradlee, Publisher of the Washington Post. This allowed these change makers to experience first hand the devastating realities of the Amazon, as well as those of the planet. He encourages us to stay optimistic with a grounding in global, environmental facts, "This really should be about opportunity for American industry, new technologies, new energy, and American ingenuity. [It's a time] to find the solutions rather than being viewed as a problem for the American economy. It is a fact that it is a problem for the American economy, if you don't address it." His dry wit and obvious love for his work at The Heinz Center; which was established to create a safe place for business, government, academics, and environmentalists to come together and work out solutions to problems, gives us hope for the future. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Thomas Lovejoy (1941-2021) was a tropical biologist and conservation biologist, and  worked in the Amazon of Brazil since 1965. He has been Assistant Secretary and Counselor to the Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, Executive Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund-U.S. He originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and is the founder of the public television series Nature. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Dr. Lovejoy served on science and environmental councils or committees under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. He presently serves as President of The Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment.

He has co-authored with Lee Hanna:

  • Climate, Change, and Biodiversity (Yale University Press 2005)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What is the difference between an intact rainforest and a fragmented one
  • Why we must care for the rainforests and coral reefs
  • How American ingenuity can step up to the plate in environmental issues
  • How is climate change affecting the oceans
  • What is Europe doing for small farmers
  • Who was John Heinz
  • How successful is the U.S. ecosystems study
  • Why conservative and conservation are congruent
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 7/12/2005     Program Number: 3165