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Sept. 29, 2004


LEWISBURG, Pa. — Internationally recognized environmental leader Norman Myers will give the talk, "Our Environmental Prospect: Time of Breakdown or Breakthrough?" Monday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is open to the public without charge, is sponsored by the Environmental Residential College, the environmental studies program, the departments of biology, geography, and geology, and the Student Environmental Club at Bucknell.

"As a world renowned ecologist, Norman Myers has been at the vanguard of research on global species loss and was instrumental in alerting the global community on key issues such as tropical deforestation and declines in biological diversity," says Peter Wilshusen, assistant professor of environmental studies at Bucknell.

"By the late 1970s, Dr. Myers calculated that the rate of species extinction was likely to be as high as one species per day, even though it was officially considered to be around one species per year. Through more detailed research as tropical forest disappeared faster, he increased his extinction estimate to roughly 50 species per day.

"He also noted that the `natural' extinction rate before humans arrived was roughly one species every three to five years. Although his findings were severely criticized at first, most scientists currently recognize them as the foundation of contemporary research in this area," said Wilshusen.

In addition to his work on mass species extinctions, Myers has turned his attention to a wide range of issues including the impacts of subsidies on the environment, environmental security, and the greening of industry.

The recipient of Gold Medals from the World Wildlife Fund and the New York Zoological Society, he has been honored with the Volvo Environment Prize and the Sasakawa Prize of the United Nations Environment Programme. He was appointed ambassador for the World Wide Fund for Nature/UK in 2000.

The author of 17 books and numerous scholarly papers and popular articles, Myers has been a senior adviser to organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the White House, scientific academies in a dozen countries and numerous Japanese corporations. He has lectured at more than 80 U.S. campuses and has held numerous visiting appointments at universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and South Africa, among other countries.

"Myers has raised the awareness of influential politicians (including six prime ministers and presidents), leading policy makers and business chiefs worldwide, notably with respect to the many links between environmental conservation and economic development.

"We are very fortunate to have someone of his stature at Bucknell for what promises to be a very engaging and illuminating discussion," said Wilshusen.

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