As part of the United Nations World Environment Day celebration in North America, the Rachel Carson Celebration of Biodiversity Symposium will focus on the human impact on biodiversity at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Co-Host) on May 27, 2010.
Featuring Edward O. Wilson as keynote speaker and including a panel of experts, we can begin with an initial visioning for a New American Dream that is environmentally sustainable, developed by participants in this event - a roadmap that will address the effect people have on the environment, and the critical inter-relationships between human habitat and the quality of life for generations to come.
Impact on the environment has often been defined as the effect of population x affluence x technology.
Population: Growth of the human population is a major factor affecting the environment. Simply put, overpopulation means that there are more people than there are resources to meet their needs. Almost all the environmental problems we face today can be traced back to the increase in population in the world. The human population is more than 6 billion; with an annual global growth rate of 1.8%, three more people are added to the earth every second. This represents an increase of almost 60% since 1970 and more than 150% since the second world war. (Miller, 1992)
Affluence: Simultaneously, the world has experienced an annual economic growth rate of 2.7% over the last three years. Affluence plays a large role because with increasing affluence comes an increase in the per capita resource utilization. Less than 20% of the world's population controls 80% of the world's wealth and resources. The high standard of living that accompanies the increased production and consumption of goods is the major cause of pollution and environmental degradation. (E.O. Wilson, 1994)
Wilson, a two-time Pulitzer prize winner, world-renowned entomologist and one of the scientists who provided research data to Rachel Carson while she was writing Silent Spring, will receive the Rachel Carson Legacy Award at a ceremony following our World Environment Day Biodiversity Symposium
The Rachel Carson Legacy Award was established in 2007 as part of the celebration of the centennial of Rachel Carson’s birth. It was designed to recognize and honor people who have made significant impact on the application of Rachel Carson’s principles to modern public policy issues that interface the environment. The biannual award targets recognition for people who are both scientists and authors, in the model of Rachel Carson’s work.
Largely responsible for the study of biodiversity, Wilson is Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard. He is also founder of the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation whose mission is to preserve biological diversity in the living environment by inventing and implementing business and educational strategies in the service of conservation. In addition to the more than 100 awards Wilson has received from around the world, in 2000 he was named as one of the century’s 100 leading environmentalists by both Time and Audubon Magazine. Don’t miss this opportunity of a lifetime to hear E. O. Wilson share his thoughts.
1:00 PM Opening and Welcome
1:30 Human Impact on the Environment - Panel Discussion:
A panel discussion on the impact of people on the Earth, including Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, Deputy Director of the United Nations Environment Programme North America, and Dr. Richard Benedick, Ambassador (ret.), President, National Council for Science and the Environment, and Terry Collins, Ph.D., Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry, Institute of Green Science, Carnegie Mellon University.
3:15 to 5:00 An Environmentally Sustainable American Dream
Sally Wiggin of WTAE Channel 4/ABC will moderate Sustainable Perspectives from the Community, including Richard Piacentini of Phipps Conservatory, Esther Barrazzone of Chatham University, Todd Katzner of the National Aviary, Indira Nair, Ph.D., Vice Provost of Education, Carnegie Mellon University, Doris Carson Williams, Director of the African American Chamber of Commerce Western PA, Brenda Smith, Executive Director of Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, Greg Boulos of Homesteaders Consulting, LLC, James T. Kunz Jr. of IUOE Local 66, Marc Mathieu of BeDo, Inc., among others.
Rachel Carson Legacy Challenge
5:00 to 5:15 Networking Break
5:15 – 6:30 Rachel Carson Legacy Award Presentation and Public Lecture
Dr. Edward O. Wilson "The Future of Biodiversity Conservation"
With a special introduction by Mark Madison, Historian, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
6:30 to 8:00 PM: Rachel Carson Legacy Award Reception with E.O. Wilson