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Abstract Detail

Plenary Address - Dr. Peter Raven

Raven, Peter [1].

Saving Plants, Saving Ourselves.

The accumulation of information about plants since the time I was a university student in the 1950s has been incredible, but the rate at which we are destroying them, their genetic diversity, and their habitats is astonishing. At an intensity of which we had no comprehension 50 years ago, we are destroying habitats, drastically and rapidly altering the global climate, and consuming all resources much more rapidly than they can be replenished. In the face of this crisis, we must make serious choices about what we can accomplish and select our goals carefully. Our future food supplies, medicines, climate stability, protection of topsoil, and the provision of clean water, as well as the rich beauty they bring into our lives every day,are worth fighting for. Ignorance of the scientific method and false assumptions have made the United States the only country in the world where a substantial number of people reject scientific conclusions about evolution, which was well accepted and considered evident well before Charles Darwin proposed his theory about a mechanism to account for it. We are also the only nation on earth with a political constituency that rejects scientific findings about climate change and human beings’ role in it for no apparent reason other than assertion and wishful thinking. In choosing goals for ourselves, our communities, our nation,and the world, we must establish priorities and pursue them actively. There are three people now living for every one who was present when I was born, and we are adding net 200,000 people per day as our population climbs from just under 7 billion to an anticipated 9.5 billion over the course of the next 40 years. We botanists must use our knowledge and our training to educate our fellow citizens, especially children, and maintain a world filled with opportunity, diversity, and beauty.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO, 63166, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Special Presentation
Session: S1
Location: Lindell Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Sunday, July 10th, 2011
Time: 7:30 PM
Number: S1001
Abstract ID:1055

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