2017 Landsdowne Lecture with Dr David Grinspoon

Join UVic's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences for our 2017 Landsdowne Lecture,  with astrobiologist, award-winning science communicator, and prize-winning author Dr David Grinspoon.

Time and Location: Wednesday, March 15 at 7:30 pm in BWC B150.

Dr David Grinspoon

For the first time in Earth’s history, our planet is experiencing a confluence of rapidly accelerating changes prompted by one species: humans. Climate change is only the most visible of the modifications we’ve made—up until this point, inadvertently—to the planet. Yet, without minimizing the challenges of the next century, David Grinspoon suggests that our present moment is not only one of peril, but also great potential, especially when viewed from a 10,000-year perspective. Although our current behavior threatens not only our own future but that of countless other creatures, our species has surmounted the threat of extinction before, thanks to our innate ingenuity and ability to adapt. Our challenge now is to awaken to our role as a force of planetary change, and to grow into this task. We must become graceful planetary engineers, conscious shapers of our environment and caretakers of Earth’s biosphere. This is a perspective that begs us to ask not just what future do we want to avoid, but what do we seek to build? What kind of world do we want? Are humans the worst thing or the best thing to ever happen to our planet? Today we stand at a pivotal juncture, and the answer will depend on the choices we make.

In his wonderful writing style, Dr. Grinspoon spells it out: A single species is inducing more profound changes to our planet than any other organism in geologic history. It’s us. If you have family and friends here on Earth, read this book. The Earth is in our hands. —Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

About the speaker:  Dr David Grinspoon is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and Adjunct Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado, and was previously the Curator of Astrobiology at the Denver Museum of Science and technology. In 2013 he was appointed as the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the U.S. Library of Congress where he studied the human impact on Earth systems and organized a public symposium on the Longevity of Human Civilization, and in 2006 was recipient of the Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science from the American Astronomical Society .
Dr Grinspoon's technical papers have been published in NatureScience, and numerous other journals, and he has given invited keynote talks at conferences around the world. Dr Grinspoon’s popular writing has appeared in SlateScientific AmericanNatural HistoryNautilusAstronomySeedThe Boston GlobeThe Los Angeles TimesThe New York Times and Sky & Telescope Magazine. He is the author and editor of several books, including Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life which won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Nonfiction.