During a webinar sponsored by UUCF’s Act on Climate Today (ACT!) last May 6, 2021, Dr. Lovejoy discussed the spiritual and ethical dimensions of biodiversity. It is likely that this was one of his last public reflections on humanity’s place within the network of all living things. He died December 25, 2021.
Known as the “Godfather of Biodiversity,” Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy is a world-renowned champion for global conservation efforts and conservation biology research grounded in sound science. He is credited with having brought the global tropical deforestation problem to the fore as a public issue and was the first person to use the term “biological diversity” in 1980 (along with Edward O. Wilson).
Dr. Lovejoy founded the public television series Nature in 1982, and for many years served as principal advisor to the series. This program is the most popular long-term series on public television. In 1984, Dr. Lovejoy originated the innovative concept of debt-for-nature swaps, the exchange of international debt for conservation projects. To date, over three billion dollars in conservation funds have been made available with this mechanism, for projects in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Philippines, Madagascar, Jamaica, and Zambia, among many others.
In 2010 he was elected University Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. He also served as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation.