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The Limits of the Planet: A Debate

March 21, 2013 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Free – $20

Have human activities pushed Earth’s resources and ecosystems close to the breaking point? Is massive environmental and social disruption just on the horizon? Can science provide us innovations that will allow the planet to overcome many biophysical constraints and keep growing? Leading scientific figures debate whether the best path to sustainability is by stressing limits or innovation.

*Reception to follow



David Biello

Scientific American

David Biello is an award-winning associate editor. He joined Scientific American in November 2005 and has written on subjects ranging from astronomy to zoology for both the Web site and magazine. Biello has been reporting on the environment and energy since 1999. He is currently working on a book about whether the planet has entered a new geologic age as a result of human impacts and, if so, what we should do about this Anthropocene. He is also the host of the 60-Second Earth podcast, a contributor to the Instant Egghead video series and author of a children’s book on bullet trains. He hosts the PBS documentary series Beyond the Light Switch, which won a Silver Baton 2012 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.


Peter Kareiva, PhD

The Nature Conservancy

Peter Kareiva, PhD, is chief scientist and science director at the Nature Conservancy. He joined TNC after 20 years as a university professor and 3 years working on salmon conservation for NOAA Fisheries. His past publications and research have concerned such diverse fields as mathematical biology, fisheries science, insect ecology, risk analysis, genetically engineered organisms, agricultural ecology, population viability analysis, behavioral ecology, landscape ecology, and global climate change. He maintains connections with several universities, and still advises students, as well as teaching courses on occasion.

Dr. Kareiva’s responsibilities at TNC include reporting to the Board of Directors on the state of science in TNC, mentoring TNC scientists, identifying opportunities and shortcomings that warrant science attention if TNC is to fulfill its mission, advising leadership on emerging conservation challenges, and serving as one of several external spokespeople for TNC science. In addition to conducting research, Peter believes that general communications and writing are essential in science.

His new book, co-authored with Dr. Michelle Marvier of Santa Clara University, is Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature.

Bob Howarth

Cornell University

Bob chairs the International SCOPE Biofuels Project, directs the Agriculture, Energy & the Environment Program (AEEP, formerly AEP) at Cornell University, and represents the State of New York on the science and technical advisory committee of the Chesapeake Bay Program. He is the Founding Editor of the journal “Biogeochemistry” (Editor-in-Chief from 1983 to 2004). He has worked extensively on environmental issues related to human-induced changes in the sulphur, nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon cycles, the impacts of global climate change, and interaction of energy systems and the environment.

Linus Blomqvist

The Breakthrough Institute

Victor Galaz

Stockholm University

Victor Galaz is an Associate Professor in political science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University), where he leads the work on governance dimensions of Earth system complexity and “planetary boundaries”. He is also currently working on a book entitled “Global Environmental Governance, Technology and Politics: Developments in the Anthropocene”


March 21, 2013
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Free – $20
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New York Academy of Sciences
7 World Trade Center 250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY United States


New York Academy of Sciences
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