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Scientist to Speak on Homogenization of the Planet at Next Science Forum

mike-mckinney-wild-lands-projectDr. Michael McKinney, director of the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program and professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee will present “Homogenizing the planet: What to do about it?” at the UT Science Forum Friday, Feb. 7.

Humans are homogenizing the planet in many ways, especially culturally and biologically. As we multiply, disperse and build, increasingly sprawling cities, we transform unique and diverse habitats into much simpler and more similar habitats solely for our own needs. This is creating a depauperate biosphere inhabited by the relative few species that are able to adapt to human habitats.

Dr. McKinney will discuss at least two solutions to this problem. One is to make our cities more sustainable: creating cities that promote biodiversity at several scales. This means more greenspace, especially those with native plants and more “urban wilderness” projects. A second solution is to make our cities more compact and do a better job of promoting biodiversity outside of the cities. This is exemplified by the Wildlands Project, which seeks to maximize the amount of land devoted to nature conservation and also connect those lands so that species can migrate between them.

The UT Science Forum takes place in the Thompson-Boling Arena Cafe, Rooms C-D. The 40-minute presentation begins at 12 p.m. and is followed by a short Q & A session. The UT Science Forum, presented by Quest, is free and open to the public.