Not for oneself, but for others – a tribute

This post provides a moment to pause and reflect on the life of a person who made an enormous contribution to humanity. Three extracts follow …

Not for oneself, but for others: A tribute to Thomas E Lovejoy (1941–2021), by H Bruce Rinker. (Ecological Citizen, Vol 5 No 2 2022) IN MEMORIAM |
H Bruce is a forest ecologist and science educator who lives in the Shenandoah Valley, in the US.

Non sibi sed cunctis: Not for oneself, but for others. This is the motto of the Millbrook School, founded in 1931. It’s the only school in the United States that has an accredited zoo (the Trevor Zoo), with an endangered-species breeding program that’s run by specially-trained high school students.

Millbrook School is the alma mater of Thomas E Lovejoy (1941–2021). He was in the class of 1959, and while enrolled there he was the student head of the Trevor Zoo. Long after his graduation, Tom remained loyal to Millbrook. Years later, at the public dedication of the Zoo’s Environmental Education Center, in late September 1995, Tom said: “It is the failing of American education that by and large still produces a citizenry largely ignorant of the biology on which human existence depends. It is my personal view that the destructive behaviour of the current Congress with respect to the environment would be very di3erent were there more widespread understanding of biology. It is this very understanding – through the wonder of living things – that we may begin to understand our own survival as dependent on the planet’s biodiversity.”

Later …

Tom’s prolific writing includes over 200 scientific articles and a host of books about the world’s tropical rainforests, and about the connections between biodiversity and climate change. Indeed, Tom was a prescient science analyst of the impending adverse impacts of climate change on biodiversity – impacts we are seeing in our time. He was an early practitioner of the UN call for action: “Think globally, act locally.” Tom’s local actions included weekly attendance of spring and autumn weekend “Power Bird Walks.” These occurred on the campus of Madeira School (next-door to his McLean home), and were led by his naturalist, bird photographer friends and teachers, John and Lee Trott, founders of the Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies in West Virginia. Often attending those walks were renowned scientists and politicians, along with their students and community friends.

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