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Saving the Earth for the Future

Aired: February 16, 2018 (UTC)


Every year, two major contributors to the solution of global environmental problems are selected as winners of the Blue Planet Prize. The 2017 winners are Professor Hans J. Schellnhuber, a theoretical physicist from Germany, and Professor Gretchen C. Daily, a biologist from the United States.

Professor Hans J. Schellnhuber, Founder and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), launched a new research approach to help solve global warming.

Studies on global warming have priarily focused on the impact that forests and oceans might have on the rise of the Earth’s temperature.

Professor Schellnhuber, however, challenged this conventional approach, proposing the idea that the main focus of research should be life-threatening disasters. He pioneered a new science field called ‘Earth System Analysis for Sustainability’ which integrates physics, biology, geology, and other academic subjects.

Based on his new method of global warming analysis, he has proposed a specific figure for the rise in global temperatures and WHERE and HOW the inevitable disaster to human beings will occur. His proposal provided the theoretical basis for the Paris Agreement signed by over 190 countries in 2015.

The other prizewinner, the biologist Professor Gretchen C. Daily, has urged the necessity of the coexistence of Nature conservation and economic development while putting a value on ecosystems.

Based on her field work over many years, she has explored a new scientific research field titled “Countryside Biogeography” that identifies the importance of maintaining biodiversity for protecting Nature in harmony with human livelihoods, not just preserving pristine Nature.

Professor Daily’s great achievement has been to digitalize the value of Nature by combining biology with economics, and to recognize the coexistence of Nature conservation and economic development. She has also developed computer software so that everybody can understand the value of nature.

We will introduce the two prizewinners’ respective devotion to saving the Earth for the future.


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