“Noah’s Ark” conservation plan featured at SFU President’s Faculty Lecture

SFU biodiversity expert Arne Mooers to speak March 26 on “What to let go: Making hard choices in the age of extinction”

In the final installment of Simon Fraser University’s Spring 2015 President’s Faculty Lecture Series, an SFU biodiversity expert will explain how the Noah’s Ark conservation theory could help keep our planet’s biodiversity afloat in some fashion.

Mooers, an SFU biology professor, will deliver his lecture What to let go: Making hard choices in the age of extinction on Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. at Burnaby’s Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

“We’re living in an age in which we are losing biodiversity thousands of times faster than evolution is replenishing it,” says Mooers whose work emulates this lecture series’ goal of stimulating discourse on big ideas.

Mooers is well known internationally for his published research on how overpopulation, climate change and underfunding of biodiversity conservation have driven us into the age of extinction.

A 2012 research paper, published in Nature and co-authored by Mooers, warns that our planet’s ecosystems are careening towards irreversible collapse.

Mooers will leverage his upcoming lecture as an opportunity to argue the only way we can hope to conserve what remains of our most diverse dwindling species is to copy Noah in the Ark parable.

“He took two of each species, not hundreds of some and none of others. We need to do the same to protect the tree of life, but there might not be room on our ark for all species,” says Mooers. “We have to make sure we at least save those that are both at risk of imminent extinction and that are like nothing else on the planet. We might forego one finch species if it means we can bring along a hoopoe.”

And how should politicians, policymakers, members of the public and media weigh the importance of hearing his argument and prioritizing salvation of the Earth’s biodiversity compared to dealing with ISIS and economic/healthcare challenges?

“Very high,” responds Mooers. “Climate change is the driver of many of the problems you listed, including ISIS. Climate change is going to force us all to make important decisions about how we conserve biodiversity for our descendants. Extinction is forever, and we might not know what we need until it’s gone.”

The President’s Faculty Lecture Series showcases outstanding SFU faculty and their research while strengthening relationships between the university and the greater community.

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada’s comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

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