<strong>Anson "Tuck" Hines</strong> image

Anson "Tuck" Hines is director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland. SERC is a global leader for research on connections among ecosystems in the coastal zone. Hines oversees a staff of scientists and an interdisciplinary team of researchers, technicians and students who conduct long-term research on global change, landscape ecology, ecosystems in coastal regions, and population and community ecology.

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Tuck Hines on...

Green architecture:

"Art is often talked about as something over there that's on the wall or performed on stage. But I look at it more as it's our interaction with the environment."

The role of individuals:

"You have to interact and take responsibility for yourself. Yes, you are one person. But that's what you can control, for sure. And you can make that happen by connecting to others through culture and choices."

Optimism:

"The next generation of scientists that's coming along is much smarter, much better integrated, and better trained than we ever were. And they're able to encompass the holistic and complex problems that we're taking on to arrive at solutions."

Realism:

"There's a lot to be optimistic about, but it's going to be a pretty heavy lift for the next 50 years."

The role of science:

"What's important to understand is the role of science and the uncertainty of the implications for that in our social and economic systems, and the interactions of the many factors that that enormous change to the planet is causing. ... There's a real need for research to understand those interactive factors as an important next step, not in denying the positive direction of the climate warming, but the consequences of that, and how that will play out."

The role of business:

"Business is not always the problem. It can also solve problems. It's a powerful force, and everybody needs to make a living. So the question is, can those be done in a way that's consistent with, and incentivized to, solving the problems? I think there are many examples of that."

Technology:

"At the grossest level, there's only so many square meters on the planet, and if everybody's standing on all those square meters, then you’ve got a problem that technology isn't going to solve. So it may be that technology will get to the point where it's acknowledging and solving a way to live within those limits, but it isn't scientifically, I will say, possible for an infinite growth of the human population on the planet."

The challenge:

"I think the biggest challenge is to get (there) using economic incentives, with scientific understanding, to shift our economies off of fossil fuels and onto renewable energies. And at as fast a possible pace as possible. Or the inertia of the system of this giant planet that we're on will overcome us."

Moderator

Secretary David J. Skorton, M.D. image

Dr. David J. Skorton is the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian. Skorton, a board-certified cardiologist, previously was the president of Cornell University, a position he held from July 2006. He was also a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and in Cornell’s Department of Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering. An ardent and nationally recognized supporter of the arts and humanities, Skorton has called for a national dialogue to emphasize the importance of funding for these disciplines.

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Panelists

Jedediah Purdy image
Jedediah Purdy

professor of law Duke University and the author of After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene

Catrina Rorke image
Catrina Rorke

senior fellow for energy policy, R Street Institute

Mary Evelyn Tucker image
Mary Evelyn Tucker

co-founder and co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University