Leading expert on biological diversity receives Volvo Environment Prize

“We must prepare for another future”. A few days ago, the major UN meeting in Nagoya, Japan, convening over 18 000 delegates and 130 environment ministers, reached agreement on a plan to protect biological diversity.
Harold A Mooney, winner of Volvo Environment Prize 2010

“This is very good news and a step forward, however; we must prepare ourselves for another future since the ecosystem services are already so altered,” says Professor Harold Mooney, Stanford University. Professor Mooney is one of the world’s most prominent researchers into ecosystem services and biological diversity. He is in Sweden to receive this year’s Volvo Environment Prize.

Commentators have expressed relief that the Nagoya did not collapse, instead producing an agreement, albeit one of compromises. World leaders are now committed to protecting biological diversity on 17 percent of land surface area and 10 percent of marine regions.

Harold Mooney is a doyen in the field of ecosystem services and biological diversity, one of the hottest topics in the global environment and sustainability debate. His research has focused on plant ecology and for several years he was a driving force in the UN’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment program, charting the impact of humankind on biological diversity.

Put simply, ecosystem services are services provided by nature that benefit mankind, such as vegetables, fish and timber. Other ecosystem services are also vital, such as the cleansing of air and water and the capacity to keep the chemical balance in the atmosphere at the right level.

“We take these functions for granted,” says Harold Mooney, “but they are exposed to great threats today. In the future, things will be greatly different. It is no longer a question of trying to retain what we have and restore what we have lost. We must, simply, prepare ourselves for a different future.”

He is, however, optimistic about the future since awareness of the issue is growing across the world. Harold Mooney has been active in the foundation of IPBES, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which may soon become as familiar as the UN climate panel, IPCC. The IPBES mandate is similar: to create scientific consensus and communicate the results to decision-makers within politics and business.

There will be an opportunity on 3 November for media interviews with Professor Harold Mooney, one of the world’s leading researchers in ecosystem services and biological diversity. The professor will be in Sweden to receive the Volvo Environment Prize. Harold Mooney is prepared to comment on the outcome of the recent major UN meeting in Nagoya on biological diversity.

Professor Harold Mooney will receive the prize at a ceremony in Stockholm on 4 November when he will also participate in a panel discussion at a seminar on the value of biological diversity.

Material available for the media:
• Photographs - Harold Mooney, Stanford University
• Film - HD-format, approx. 10 minutes on ecosystem services and Harold Mooney’s research
To book interviews during Professor Mooney’s visit to Sweden, contact:
Johanna Cederström, Tel +46 (0)70 492 42 65 johanna.cederstrom@wirten.se  or
Claes Sjöberg, Tel +46 (0)70 662 64 71 claes.sjoberg@miljorapporten.se

For more information on the Volvo Environment Prize and this year’s laureate:Annelie Karlsson, Scientific Advisor to the Volvo Environment Prize, tel +46 (0)31- 772 4961 annelie.karlsson@chalmers.se

November 2, 2010

Harold A. Mooney is a professor of Environmental Biology at Stanford University
in California, USA, and senior fellow of the Institute for International Studies, at
Stanford. His scientific production encompasses 35 books as well as articles in
Science and Nature. He is one of the most frequently quoted researchers in
ecology and environmental sciences.

The Volvo Environment Prize is an annual award given to people for outstanding
scientific discoveries or inventions within the area of environment and sustainable
development. The prize is awarded by an independent foundation. The prize consists of a diploma, a glass sculpture and a cash sum of SEK 1.5 million (approx. EURO 160,000 or USD 225,000). Since the first award, there have been 37 winners, among them many famous names, including three Nobel Prize winners.

Website: http://www.environment-prize.com/.

PDF of press release in English

PDF of press release in Swedish