Peter Raven addresses earth's dwindling resources, the value of science-informed outreach

January 08, 2021

The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.

In a career-spanning installment of the journal BioScience's In Their Own Words oral history series, Missouri Botanical Garden President Emeritus Peter Raven illuminates numerous topics, sharing insights related to the sustainability of human civilization, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the importance of science in addressing the world's greatest challenges. Raven, a recent coauthor of "A Call to Action: Marshaling Science for Society," highlights the importance of public outreach in overcoming deeply rooted societal problems. Among them, he argues that our present economic system "sees natural productivity like every other commodity," as something that grows in proportion with demand. "Guess what," says Raven, "it doesn't. It's got a real limit. The limit is known as the planet Earth." Raven goes on to argue that young scientists, after they have forged a solid framework of skills within their field, should turn their attention to public engagement, "to understand what's really going on in the world, to try to act on it, to try to act on it personally in terms of consumption and other parameters, and to act on it in terms of the people we elect and the international choices we make." Discussing his own contributions, Raven explains that he hopes his work in leading the Missouri Botanical Garden during a period of expansion will persist into the future: "I would like that global reach, that global service, and that understanding between people and between nations, with the realization that we're not all competing with one another, but we're all pursuing a common goal and ought to be nurturing and encouraging one another, to be remembered." Dr. Raven's autobiography, "Driven by Nature," will be jointly published by the University of Chicago Press and the Missouri Botanical Garden in March 2021.
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To hear the whole discussion, visit this link for this latest episode of the BioScience Talks podcast.

BioScience, published monthly by Oxford Journals, is the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). BioScience is a forum for integrating the life sciences that publishes commentary and peer-reviewed articles. The journal has been published since 1964. AIBS is an organization for professional scientific societies and organizations, and individuals, involved with biology. AIBS provides decision-makers with high-quality, vetted information for the advancement of biology and society. Follow BioScience on Twitter @AIBSbiology.

Oxford Journals is a division of Oxford University Press. Oxford Journals publishes well over 300 academic and research journals covering a broad range of subject areas, two-thirds of which are published in collaboration with learned societies and other international organizations. The division been publishing journals for more than a century, and as part of the world's oldest and largest university press, has more than 500 years of publishing expertise behind it. Follow Oxford Journals on Twitter @OxfordJournals

American Institute of Biological Sciences

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