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The Future Role of Botanical Gardens
We live in an age of extinction. An estimated one fifth of all plant and animal species are currently endangered with this proportion estimated to rise to 50% unless we change the way we’re treating our planet. Meanwhile, climate change threatens fundamental changes to our planet’s ecosystems and our ability to grow sufficient food to feed humanity. This challenge will be exacerbated by the continued rapid rise in human population, in particular in Africa. And ever more of us are living in cities yet urban lifestyles bring mental health challenges and risk the disconnection of people from nature. This is a daunting cocktail of global challenges for the 21st century. They will affect every individual, in every society and country. Botanic gardens such as RBG Kew were born in the 18th and 19th centuries — the age of Empire. During this period and subsequently, Kew acquired extraordinary botanical collections and expertise. But what current relevance do these assets have? What is the purpose of institutions like RBG Kew in the 21st century and, in particular, what contribution can Kew make in helping to find solutions to these urgent challenges? Drawing upon current case studies and looking to the future, Richard Deverell will set out an answer to this question and, in doing so, make the case for botanical science as the discipline that might just save the world.
Richard Deverell joined Kew in 2012, after 20 years at the BBC where he helped to launch and then ran the BBC News website, led the Children’s Department and finally was part of the team that set up BBC North in Salford. While working at the BBC, Richard was a Kew Trustee for six years. He was the first person appointed to the role of Director who was not a professional botanist and since taking up the role has led Kew through a period of significant change. He appointed Kew’s first Director of Science which in turn led to the publication of Kew’s Science Strategy. Richard is also a Visitor of the Oxford Botanic Garden and Champion for the Food Forever Initiative. He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge.
The Garden+ lecture series places the Japanese garden in bold and inspiring new contexts by bringing designers, authors, practitioners, and researchers to the Garden to share fresh ideas. Come experience original perspectives, thought-provoking research, and new creative work. We bring presenters from around the globe to shed new light on how gardens connect to subjects as diverse as spirituality, technical innovation, architecture, culture, design, and society — all made more resonant with the Garden itself as a backdrop. Garden+ is a presentation of the International Japanese Garden Training Center, which is supported by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.