Jury citation for the 2019 Volvo Environment Prize laureate
Humanity is at a critical point in our relationship with the Earth, as our actions are rapidly destabilizing our own planetary life support system. Professor Terry Chapin is not only a world-leading ecologist, he is also one of the world’s most profound thinkers and actors on stewardship of the Earth System. Professor Chapin has built a long and productive career that links ecology and ethics in both theory and practice. His novel concepts published over the last 30 years have been widely influential in understanding biological diversity which underpins human well-being. His focus has been on the global Arctic, where ecology meets climate change in the carbon-rich expanses of tundra, permafrost and boreal forest. Professor Chapin works with indigenous groups and local communities in both Siberia and Alaska, and connects local actions and well-being to global sustainability. His overarching theme of Earth Stewardship could not come at a more pivotal time, when deep institutional and structural change is required to meet the challenges ahead for humanity. His research is tremendously inspiring, with its focus on taking responsibility for our actions, our beliefs and our economic, social and political systems. Terry Chapin’s concept of Earth Stewardship as a guiding principle points to the scientifically sound and ethical management of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations, and for the rest of life on Earth. On this 30th anniversary of the Volvo Environment Prize, there could be no more deserving and outstanding Laureate than Terry Chapin.
Throughout his decades-long career in ecosystems research and global change, Professor Terry Chapin has worked tirelessly with people and for the planet. His work will have a long-lasting impact on the ways we seek to build a sustainable future, with the concept of Earth Stewardship supporting the deep institutional and structural change required to meet the challenges ahead.