This discussion of environmental conservation and use of natural resources is often framed as either/or, but this year’s recipients of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement were selected in part because they demonstrate that smart conservation policy can also be smart economic policy. Through sound science and working with communities, who live among and rely on valuable natural resources like fisheries and forests, good policy can drive sustainable use that benefits all.
Jane Lubchenco and Madhav Gadgil, scientists working on land and in oceans, have spent their careers identifying solutions that protect our planet’s biodiversity and some of our most at-risk environments. As a result, they have been able to help halt—and even reverse—overfishing in our oceans and map and advocate for the plethora of species in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.
Dr. Jane Lubchenco received the award for her research in marine ecology and climate change, as well as her leadership in using science to drive policymaking both as the former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and as a scientist in the field. Since leaving NOAA and returning to Oregon State University, where she serves as a University Distinguished Professor, she is taking this work global as the first-ever U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean.
Dr. Madhav Gadgil, the D.D. Kosambi Visiting Research Professor at Goa University, received the award for his work in quantitative ecology and population biology. His work educating and engaging local people to help inventory the biodiversity of India’s Western Ghats promoted conservation and sustainable resource management in a region home to over 7,400 flowering plant species, over 650 bird and mammal species and at least 325 globally threatened species. He is also recognized for his work chairing a national committee that issued recommendations on development and management of the Western Ghats, which drew international attention to the rights of local and indigenous peoples to have a strong voice in the management of local natural resources.
To learn more about the 2015 Tyler Prize laureates, watch the following videos:
To read more about the 2015 Tyler Prize laureates, check out these articles:
Environmental Prize Winner Sees More Americans Accepting Climate Science – Oregon Public Radio (NPR)
Overfishing Opponent Wins Environmental Prize – Voice of America
Ecologist Madhav Gadgil to receive Tyler Prize – Press Trust of India
American, Indian Environmental Scientists Share Prestigious Prize – Voice of America