Scientific Advisory Committee

The scientists listed below are eager to serve as a resource in your work. Should you have questions or wish to discuss any of the scientific material in this booklet, each will be happy to individually address the needs of your congregation. Suggested topics are listed under each scientist’s name. Scientists are listed according to area of expertise, and full biographical statements are available here.

Eric Chivian M.D.
Director and Founder
Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School

Topic: Human Health Impacts of Biodiversity Loss

During the past 17 years Dr. Eric Chivian has worked to involve physicians in the United States and abroad in efforts to protect the environment, and to increase public understanding of the potential human health consequences of global environmental change. In 2008, Dr. Chivian was named by Time Magazine, along with the Rev. Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, for their work in organizing scientists and evangelicals to join together in efforts to protect the global environment. Dr. Chivian has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad, and has appeared on national television and radio and in the print media in numerous countries. He has over 50 publications.

Rita Colwell Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor
University of Maryland
Contact Dr. Colwell

Topic: Microbial Biodiversity

Dr. Rita Colwell’s interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health, and she is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Dr. Colwell has held many advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She has authored or co-authored 16 books and more than 700 scientific publications.  She produced the award-winning film Invisible Seas and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. A geological site in Antarctica, Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.

Judith Curry Ph.D.
School of Earth and Atmosopheric Sciences
Georgia Institute of Technology
Contact Dr. Curry

Topic: Climate Change and Oceans, Hurricanes

Dr. Curry’s research interests span a variety of topics in weather and climate, including: hurricanes, climate change in the Arctic, and applications of satellite data to interpreting recent variations in the climate data record.

Gretchen Daily Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Sciences
Stanford University
Contact Dr. Daily

Topic: Ecosystem Services

Gretchen Daily is an ecologist by training, Her work spans scientific research, teaching, public education, and working with leaders in diverse sectors to advance practical approaches to environmental challenges. Daily’s scientific research is on quantifying the societal benefits from nature, and on new finance and policy mechanisms for enhancing these benefits.  She and her group have ongoing projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States. She has published over 150 scientific and popular articles; her most recent book is The New Economy of Nature:  The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, coauthored with journalist Katherine Ellison (2002, Island Press).

Paul Epstein M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Director
Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School
Contact Dr. Epstein

Topic: Human Health Impacts of Climate Change

Paul R. Epstein is a medical doctor trained in tropical public health. He has worked in medical, teaching and research capacities in Africa, Asia and Latin America and in 1993 coordinated an eight-part series on Health and Climate Change for the British medical journal, Lancet. Dr. Epstein also coordinated Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions, an international project with Swiss Re and the United Nations Development Programme assessing the new risks and opportunities presented by a changing climate. He is also preparing a report that examines the “stabilization wedges” through the lens of health and ecological safety. Dr. Epstein received recognition for his contributions to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Howard Frumkin M.D., Dr.P.H.
National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Contact Dr. Frumkin

Topic: Health Impacts of Climate Change, the Built Environment and Toxic Exposures

Dr. Frumkin is an internist, environmental and occupational medicine specialist, and epidemiologist. His research interests include public health aspects of urban sprawl and the built environment; air pollution; metal and PCB toxicity; climate change; health benefits of contact with nature; and environmental and occupational health policy, especially regarding minority workers and communities, and those in developing nations. Dr. Frumkin has served on numerous boards related to the environment and toxic exposures and was named Environmental Professional of the Year by the Georgia Environmental Council in 2004. He is the author or co-author of over 160 scientific journal articles and chapters, along with several books, including the award-winning Environmental Health: From Global to Local (Jossey-Bass, 2005).

James Hansen Ph.D.
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Contact Dr. Hansen

Topic: Climate Change Science

James Hansen was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of Dr. James Van Allen at the University of Iowa. He is best known for testimony on climate change to Congress in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995 and has received awards including the World Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Medal from the Duke of Edinburgh. Time magazine designated him as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2006. Dr. Hansen disputes the contention, by fossil fuel interests and their government supporters, that it is god-given fact that all fossil fuels must be burned, and he outlines actions needed to stabilize climate, along with steps the public can take to influence government and industry policies.

Bernd Heinrich Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
University of Vermont
Contact Dr. Heinrich

Topic: General Questions about Biodiversity, Insects, Birds, Forests

In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Heinrich has written ten books that share the creativity of his research with general readers. His newest book, Summer World: A Season of Bounty, will be available in spring of 2009. Dr. Heinrich explains that his interest in the natural world began when he was a small child with a huge fascination for anything alive and a desire to get close to it and understand. “That was initially possible only with ’simple’ things,” he explains, “and I still think in terms of simple mechanisms or building blocks, in order to see the whole.”
Although he started his scientific career as a cell biologist working on protozoa, he always had a passion for birds. “Looking back, I’m amazed at how my later work on insect physiology influenced my ideas of mind,” he says. “One never knows where insights can come from.”

Philip Landrigan M.D., M.Sc.
Professor and Chairman, Department of Community & Preventive Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics; Director, Children’s Environmental Health Center

Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Contact Dr. Landrigan

Topic: Children’s Health and the Environment; Pesticides; Heavy Metals

Dr. Philip J. Landrigan is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, and internationally recognized leader in public health and preventive medicine. He is known for his many decades of work in protecting children against environmental threats to health, most notably lead and pesticides. The National Academy of Sciences report that he directed on pesticides and children’s health was instrumental in securing passage of the Food Quality Protection Act, the major federal pesticide law in the United States Dr. Landrigan has been a leader in developing the National Children’s Study, the largest study of children’s health and he environment ever launched in the United States. From 1995 to 1997, Dr. Landrigan served on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteran’s Illnesses. He has also been centrally involved in the medical and epidemiologic studies that followed the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He has consulted extensively to the World Health Organization.

Thomas Lovejoy Ph.D.
The Heinz Center
Contact Dr. Lovejoy

Topic: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

Before coming to The Heinz Center, Dr. Lovejoy was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean and Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation. Dr. Lovejoy has been Assistant Secretary and Counselor to the Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, and Executive Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund – U.S. He conceived the idea for the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (a joint project between the Smithsonian and Brazil’s INPA), originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and is the founder of the public television series Nature. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Dr. Lovejoy served on science and environmental councils or committees under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations.

James McCarthy Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Oceanography
Harvard University
Contact Dr. McCarthy

Topic: Climate Change and Oceans, Biological Impacts

Dr. McCarthy’s research interests relate to the regulation of plankton productivity in the sea, and in recent years have focused on regions that are strongly affected by seasonal and inter-annual variation in climate. He has served on national and international planning committees, advisory panels, and commissions relating to oceanography, polar science, and the study of climate and global change for federal agencies, intergovernmental bodies and international organizations. He is also an author of many scientific papers, and he currently teaches courses on biological oceanography and biogeochemical cycles, marine ecosystems, and global change and human health.  For he past two decades Dr. McCarthy has worked as an author, reviewer, and as a co-chair with the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is the recipient of the New England Aquarium’s David B. Stone award for distinguished service to the environment and the community.  McCarthy is the current president of the AAAS, our nation’s largest scientific association.

Camille Parmesan Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Section of Integrative Biology
University of Texas
Contact Dr. Parmesan

Topic: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

Dr. Camille Parmesan’s early research spanned multiple aspects of the behavior, ecology and evolution of insect/plant interactions in natural systems. In 1992, Dr. Parmesan received a NASA fellowship under the Mission to Planet Earth Program. Since then, her research has been focused on observed impacts of anthropogenic climate change in wild species working at multiple scales, from field studies of individual butterfly species in North America and Europe, to global-scale syntheses spanning from microbes to mega-fauna in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. She has given presentations in Washington, D.C. for White House and Congressional seminar series, and has testified as an expert witness for both the state and national Congressional Committees. Her work has been highlighted in thousands of scientific and popular publications, as well as National Public Radio, the BBC film series State of the Planet with David Attenborough, CBS Evening News, ABC Nightline with Peter Jennings, and ABC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.

Stuart Pimm Ph.D.
Professor of Conservation Biology
Duke University
Contact Dr. Pimm

General Questions about Biodiversity and Species Extinctions
Stuart Pimm became a conservation biologist watching species become extinct in Hawai’i in the 1970s. That experience lead to his commitment to study the scientific issues behind the global loss of biological diversity. Pimm has written over 150 scientific papers including three review articles in Nature and Science and four books including “The Balance of Nature? Ecological Issues in the Conservation of Species and Communities” and his new global assessment of biodiversity’s future, “The World According to Pimm: A Scientist Audits the Earth.” His research covers the reasons why species become extinct, how fast they do so, the global patterns of habitat loss and species extinction, the role of introduced species in causing extinction and, importantly, the management consequences of this research. His commitment to the interface between science and policy has lead to his testimony to both House and Senate Committees on the re-authorization of the Endangered Species Act. Current work includes studies of endangered species and ecosystem restoration in the Florida Everglades, and setting priorities for protected areas in the Atlantic Coast forest of Brazil (one of the world’s “hotspots” for threatened species. His awards include a Pew Scholarship for Conservation and the Environment (in 1993) and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship (in 1999). The Institute of Scientific Information recognized him in 2002 as being one of the world’s most highly cited scientists. In 2004, Pimm was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Peter Raven Ph.D.
Missouri Botanical Garden
Contact Dr. Raven

Topic: Biodiversity and Plants

Peter H. Raven, a leading botanist and advocate of conservation and biodiversity, is President of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis.  Dr. Raven received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1960 after completing his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley.  He has been awarded a number of honorary degrees by universities in the United States and throughout the world.  In addition, Dr. Raven is a Trustee of the National Georgraphic Society and Chair of the Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. Dr. Raven’s scientific studies have included plant systematics, evolution, ecology, conservation, and sustainable development.  Described by TIME magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” Dr. Raven champions research throughout the world to help in the preservation of endangered plants and animals and is a leading advocate for building a sustainable environment.  In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Dr. Raven has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards in the U.S. and around the world. In 2001, Dr. Raven received the National Medal of Science, the highest award for scientific accomplishment in the United States.  He served for 12 years as Home Secretary of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, to which he was elected in 1977.

Carl Safina Ph.D.
Blue Ocean Institute
Contact Dr. Safina

Topic: Biodiversity and Marine Life

Carl Safina grew up fascinated by the ocean and its creatures.  His childhood by the sea led him into scientific studies of seabirds and fish, and to his doctorate in ecology from Rutgers University.
During his research and his recreational and part-time-commercial fishing, he noticed rapid declines in white marlin, sharks, tunas and other fishes, and sea turtles. This motivated him to become a voice for the conservation and restoration of life in the oceans. Since then, Dr. Safina has worked to put ocean fish conservation issues into the wildlife conservation mainstream. In 1990 he founded the Living Oceans Program at the National Audubon Society and in 2003 he co-founded the Blue Ocean Institute, whose main focus is using science, art, and literature to inspire a  “sea ethic”—a closer relationship with the sea. Safina is author of more than a hundred scientific and popular publications on ecology and oceans. His first book, Song for the Blue Ocean, was chosen a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction selection, and a Library Journal Best Science Book selection; it won him the Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction. His second book, Eye of the Albatross, won the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing and was chosen by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine as the year’s best book for communicating science. Dr. Safina has been profiled in the New York Times and on Nightline, named among “100 Notable Conservationists of the 20th Century” by Audubon magazine, and featured on the Bill Moyers PBS special “Earth on Edge.”  He is adjunct full professor at Stony Brook University and a winner of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, among other honors.

J. Gustave Speth J.D.,
Dean, and Sara Shellenberg Brown Professor in the Practice of Environmental Policy
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Contact Dr. Speth

Topic: Climate Change Policy

From 1993 to 1999, Dean Speth served as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Development Group. Prior to his service at the UN, he was founder and president of the World Resources Insti-tute; professor of law at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality; and senior attorney and cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council.

Throughout his career, Dean Speth has provided leadership and entrepreneurial initiatives to many task forces and committees whose roles have been to combat environmental degradation, including the President’s Task Force on Global Resources and Environment; the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development; and the National Commission on the Environment. Among his awards are the National Wildlife Federation’s Resources Defense Award, the Natural Resources Council of America’s Barbara Swain Award of Honor, a 1997 Special Recognition Award from the Society for International Development, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Environmental Law Institute, and the Blue Planet Prize. Publications include Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment; Worlds Apart: Globalization and the Environment; and articles in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Environmental Science and Technology, the Columbia Journal World of Business, and other journals and books.

Edward Wilson Ph.D.
University Research Professor, Emeritus
Harvard University
 Museum of Comparative Zoology
Contact Dr. Wilson

Topic: Biodiversity, Ants and Other Social Insects

Edward O. Wilson was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1929. He received his B.S. and M.S. in biology from the University of Alabama and, in 1955, his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard, where he has since taught, and where he has received both of his college-wide teaching awards. He is currently University Research Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. He is the author of two Pulitzer Prize-winning books, On Human Nature (1978) and The Ants (1990, with Bert Holldobler), as well as the recipient of many fellowships, honors, and awards, including the 1976 National Medal of Science, the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1990), the International Prize for Biology from Japan (1993), and, for his conservation efforts, the Gold Medal of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (1990), and the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society (1995). He is on the board of directors of Conservation International, and the American Museum of Natural History, and gives many lectures throughout the world. His most recent books are The Future of Life (2002), Pheidole in the New World (2003), and The Creation (2006). He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with his wife, Irene.