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Statement on the passing of Dr. E.O. Wilson and Dr. Thomas Lovejoy + Our Commitment

This week, we are saddened to hear about the passing of two influential leaders in the field of Ecology and Conservation Biology. Dr. E.O. Wilson, often referred to as the ‘modern-day Darwin’, and Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, often referred to as the “godfather of biodiversity”, were scientific giants and influential leaders in shaping how we view the synergistic relationship between the environment and all living things. Both of these leaders fervently lived a life advocating for a more sustainable relationship with our planet and reminding those that depend on it that action is ultimately up to us.

Dr. Wilson once stated that the fate of the planet “is in the hands of the people, of countries, particularly our own, that have the ability to change things.” 

Dr. Lovejoy also stated, “The planet is about to break out with fever, indeed it may already have, and we [human beings] are the disease. We should be at war with ourselves and our lifestyles.”

In honor of E.O. Wilson and Dr. Tom Lovejoy’s legacies and urgent calls to action, the Science Panel for the Amazon would like to issue a statement pledging to advance an agenda of science, technology, innovation, conservation, and protecting Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the Amazon, as well as the continuing support for the development of the cadre of young scientists who will carry their legacy forward. We are honored to have had the strategic guidance of Dr. Tom Lovejoy in creating the Science Panel for the Amazon and the 2021 Amazon Assessment Report. While the panel’s work continues, we will draw inspiration from Dr. Lovejoy’s and Dr. Wilson’s legacies as we work to improve scientific innovation in the Amazon, close research gaps, understand processes and patterns of ecosystems, biodiversity and biosphere-atmosphere interactions, and pursue a sustainable Amazon for the sake of the planet and its people. They will undoubtedly inspire our continued work on a productive agenda for science and conservation in the region for many years to come.

Carlos Nobre, Co-Chair, Mercedes Bustamante, SPA Scientific Steering Committee, and Emma Torres, Strategic Coordinator

On behalf of the Science Panel for the Amazon