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Thomas Lovejoy
Thomas Lovejoy

Great Cities lecture series hosts PBS 'Nature' founder

By James M. Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(Oct. 8, 2008)--The UTSA Center for Policy Studies and the Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas will host renowned biologist and environmental adviser Thomas Lovejoy as part of the Great Cities Dialogue lecture series, 7-8 p.m., Monday, Oct. 20 at the Buena Vista Theater on the UTSA Downtown Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

>> View a video invitation to the lecture.

Lovejoy will speak on "Climate Change: Prospects for Nature" with the goal of promoting dialogue among citizens and policy makers in South Texas on how life in the region might be altered by climate change, what steps should be taken to thwart the change and what changes will be necessary to adapt.

Currently the president of The Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C., Lovejoy is founder of the long-running PBS television wildlife series, "Nature." The Emmy Award-winning series, which premiered in October 1982, is one of the most watched in the world, featuring documentaries about animals and ecosystems. Lovejoy earned bachelor's and doctorate degrees in biology from Yale University.

Lovejoy will offer a perspective on global warming, the melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice, deforestation and other phenomena with a focus on the effects of climate change on biological species. He has documented how natural patterns have begun to change, such as the facts that various plants flower almost a month earlier than they did 20 years ago and that birds have begun nesting 9 days earlier than they did 40 years ago.

Lovejoy also will discuss how climate change destroys habitat. For example, the warming climate has created ideal conditions for creatures such as bark beetles that thrive in warmer temperatures. In Canada, bark beetles have killed more trees than logging and wildfire combined. In search of new habitat, species have begun to migrate from the forests with not all moving to the same places at the same time. This often separates predator and prey species, interrupting the food chain. In the oceans, increasing acidity is affecting base-level species, disrupting the marine food chain.

The lecture is made possible through a partnership with the Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas, formerly the Bexar Land Trust. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to keeping South Texas green through land conservation, community gardening and educational programs.

The UTSA Great Cities Dialogue series gathers leading academic experts, civic leaders and policy makers to discuss key topics influencing San Antonio's growth and development into a "great city." Key areas of interest include urban development and revitalization, transportation, energy and sustainability.

For more information, contact the UTSA Center for Policy Studies at (210) 458-2539.

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