In honor of those we have lost

Tara C. Trapani

Last week, we lost some very important figures for our world and work—biologists E. O. Wilson and Tom Lovejoy, as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

E. O. Wilson and Tom Lovejoy were both integral figures to the work of the Forum. E. O. Wilson was a keen supporter of the Harvard conferences (‘96-‘98) out of which the Forum was born. He spoke at the Judaism and Ecology conference and at the Culminating Conference at Harvard in 1998 titled “Religion, Ethics, and the Environment: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue.” Both he and Tom Lovejoy felt religion has an important role to play in conservation, especially biodiversity, a word that Lovejoy created.

In March 2011, Lovejoy was our keynote speaker at the Journey of the Universe East Coast Premiere banquet at the Peabody Museum at Yale University. Two days later he introduced the film at the “Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital” where it was selected as one of the 3 finalists. He and Mary Evelyn Tucker showed the film together several times in other settings as well.

And though Archbishop Tutu was primarily known for his anti-apartheid and LGBTQ advocacy work, he was also vocal on the issue of climate change and its disproportionate effect on vulnerable populations. See these 2007 and 2014 Guardian articles written by him on the topic.


Here are just a few of the many online reflections honoring their life and contributions:

Honoring the Legacy of E. O. Wilson and Tom Lovejoy
New Yorker piece on the work of E. O. Wilson and Tom Lovejoy

E. O. Wilson, a Pioneer of Evolutionary Biology, Dies at 92
New York Times obituary of E. O. Wilson

Giants at Rest
Bill McKibben on the legacy of E. O. Wilson and Desmond Tutu

Thomas E. Lovejoy III, an ecologist who dedicated his career to preserving the Amazon rainforest, dies at 80
Washington Post obituary of Tom Lovejoy

Anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies aged 90
Guardian obituary of Desmond Tutu



We light a candle and honor the life’s work of these dedicated people who have inspired so many.