Stony Brook’s Richard Leakey, perhaps the world’s most renowned paleoanthropologist, discussed the planet’s prospects in view of accelerating climate change in a New Yorker profile dated February 20, 2020.
Leakey is a professor of anthropology at Stony Brook, where he helped establish the Turkana Basin Institute, a not-for-profit research facility based in Kenya. In recent years he has become a prominent spokesman for efforts to halt poaching of endangered elephants in and is now focusing on climate change and its effects on wildlife.
“It is possible to cut carbon dioxide,” Leakey told the New Yorker. “It may not be possible to recover the environment sufficiently for wildlife in the next thirty or forty years, but, you know, the planet has been here for three and a half, four billion years.”
“life has been on the planet for six hundred million years, humans have been living on the planet—bipedal creatures—for six million years, and we’ve been a technological species for four million years,” he said. “So can’t we get through the next few hundred years and put our vision to restoring the planet?”