By Christina Wilkie
“It is nothing short of scandalous that we probably only know one out of every ten species on earth, let alone where they are.” Tom Lovejoy
Chevy Chase, Tom Brokaw, UN Foundation President Tim Wirth, John Kerry, Russel Train, and Teresa Heinz all took to the stage for an evening at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in honor of renowned conservationist Tom Lovejoy, the current president of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment. Lovejoy, who has been working in tropical rainforests since the 1960’s is credited with first using the now-standard terms ‘biological diversity’ and ‘conservation biology’. He also founded the popular PBS show Nature.
Billed as a roast, the heat on Dr. Lovejoy never rose much above ‘warm’, but dinner emcee Chevy Chase was spot-on, as was a charismatic and funny Tom Brokaw, who recalled a 1988 CODAL trip to Lovejoy’s Amazon base camp (known as Camp 41) with Ben Bradlee and then-Senators Al Gore, Richard Shelby, and the late Jack Heinz, among others. The more than 400 enviros and policy folks laughed for nearly an hour. In a nod to the guest of honor’s strong preference for bow-ties, a prize for the best tie of the evening was awarded to climatologist Warren Washington, who sported a blinking red variety.
The Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment is a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the scientific and economic foundation for environmental policy. The evening was primarily sponsored by Coca-Cola.