Perspectives Online

Mueller honored, Lovejoy speaks of global warming at Borlaug event

Dr. Thomas Lovejoy encouraged university support of programs related to the environment.
Photo by Daniel Kim

Dr. J. Paul Mueller, crop science professor in N.C. State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has received the second Joint CNR-CALS Campuswide Award for Service to Society and the Environment. The award was presented Oct. 22 during the Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Distinguished Lecture on Global Service to Society and the Environment at the McKimmon Center on N.C. State’s campus. Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, president of the H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, was the featured speaker at the event.

The lecture is sponsored by College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Natural Resources at N.C. State.

Lovejoy gave the 2007 Borlaug Lecture on “Climate Change: Prospects for Nature.” He also offered a technical seminar on Oct. 23 and enjoyed an informal lunch discussion with faculty and students. Lovejoy has served as executive vice president of the World Wildlife Fund (U.S.), assistant secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and science adviser to United Nations Environmental Programme, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the World Bank.

Paul Mueller
During his lecture, Lovejoy described many biological signs that the world is warming – bleaching of coral reefs, species moving to new climate zones and others becoming extinct, and the sugar maple range declining.

To address global warming, Lovejoy said, the world must revise conservation strategies and deal with energy policy. He recommended reducing obstacles to species movement to assist with migration. Global efforts must be made to avoid deforestation and preserve rainforests, whose loss leads to carbon dioxide increases.

Finally, Lovejoy said universities must play a role, first by reducing their own “ecological footprint,” which can be substantial. He also encouraged universities, particularly land-grants, to support scholarship and graduate programs related to the environment.

“As a land-grant university, you are concerned with the land. That is the heart of all this,” Lovejoy said.

Following the lecture, Dean Johnny Wynne presented the Campuswide Award for Service to Dr. Michelle Schroeder-Moreno, agroecologist and assistant professor in the CALS Crop Science Department, who accepted on Mueller’s behalf. Mueller was attending the interment ceremony of his father, a decorated World War II veteran, in Arlington National Cemetery.

Mueller juggles many chores, including interim directorship of the College’s International Programs Office and coordinator of CALS’ sustainable agriculture programs and its Center for Environmental Farming Systems’ farming research unit. He also is involved in international projects in several countries. A member of the graduate teaching faculty, he has been an N.C. State professor since 1985.

Mueller currently is a co-principal investigator on an interdepartmental project to build a partnership between the College and two Uruguayan agroecological institutions: the Batoví Instituto Orgánico International and Universidad de la Empresa. He and an interdepartmental College team also are currently involved in Vera Cruz, Mexico, developing case study information for a graduate course in sustainable agriculture.

The Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Distinguished Lecture on Global Service to Society and the Environment was named in honor of the father of the Green Revolution and is held annually about the time of World Food Day.

—Art Latham and Natalie Hampton