2016 Summit — Lungs of the Earth: Needed More Than Ever

Presentation: Lungs of the Earth

Tom Lovejoy, a rainforest expert, biologist and professor at George Mason University, spoke of the “lungs of the Earth,” and how they relate to cities at Planet Forward’s 2016 Summit. He began by stating that destroying the Amazon rainforest is like burning books: each species destroyed is the answer to a specific biological problem, which we may find useful.

“When you start thinking of all life on earth having a four billion year lineage, you start to have a lot more respect for it,” he said.

With this respect, people can stop deforestation, which causes 30 percent of greenhouse gases, and restore ecosystems. To manage the climate system, we need to recognize it is a “combined, integrated system.” We need to look at the planet as a whole.

“What we are talking about is managing ourselves, getting rid of the hubris and explore all the opportunity that’s inherent with being on a living planet,” Lovejoy said. “I envision a future in which human ingenuity and human aspiration is embedded in nature…”

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