This week on Exploration, Dr. Robert Lanza and Lester Brown talk about the future of biotech and the future of the Earth, respectively.
Robert Paul Lanza (born 11 February 1956) is an American medical doctor, scientist, Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Cell Technologyand Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Lanza has received numerous awards, including TIME Magazine’s 2014 Time 100 list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” the 2013 “Il Leone di San Marco Award in Medicine” (Italian Heritage and Culture Committee, along with Regis Philbin, who received the award in Entertainment), a 2010 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Award for “Translating Basic Science Discoveries into New and Better Treatments”; a 2010 “Movers and Shakers” Who Will Shape Biotech Over the Next 20 Years (BioWorld, along with Craig Venter and President Barack Obama); a 2005 Wired magazine “Rave Award” for medicine “For eye-opening work on embryonic stem cells”, and a 2006 Mass High Tech journal “All Star” award for biotechnology for “pushing stem cells’ future”.
Lester Russel Brown (born March 28, 1934) is a United States environmental analyst, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. BBC Radio commentator Peter Day calls him “one of the great pioneer environmentalists.”
Brown is the author or co-author of over 50 books on global environmental issues and his works have been translated into more than forty languages. His most recent book is Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, which was released in September 2012.
Brown emphasizes the geopolitical effects of fast-rising grain prices, noting that “the biggest threat to global stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries,” and one that could “bring down civilization.” In Foreign Policy magazine, he describes how the “new geopolitics of food” has, in 2011, already begun to contribute to revolutions and upheaval in various countries.
The recipient of 26 honorary degrees and a MacArthur Fellowship, Brown has been described by the Washington Post as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers.” As early as 1978, in his book The Twenty-Ninth Day, he was already warning of “the various dangers arising out of our manhandling of nature…by overfishing the oceans, stripping the forests, turning land into desert.” In 1986, the Library of Congress requested his personal papers noting that his writings “have already strongly affected thinking about problems of world population and resources,” while president Bill Clinton has suggested that “we should all heed his advice.” In 2003 he was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.
In the mid-1970s, Brown helped pioneer the concept of sustainable development, during a career that started with farming. Since then, he has been the recipient of many prizes and awards, including, the 1987 United Nations Environment Prize, the 1989 World Wide Fund for Nature Gold Medal, and the 1994 Blue Planet Prize for his “contributions to solving global environmental problems.” In 1995, Marquis Who’s Who selected Brown as one of its “50 Great Americans.” He was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Italy and was appointed an honorary professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He lives in Washington, D.C.