It’s safe to say that few people have lived lives as thoroughly devoted to plants as Peter H. Raven has. The longtime director – now president emeritus – of the Missouri Botanical Garden, author of numerous leading textbooks and several hundred scholarly articles, Raven has been a tireless champion of sustainability and biodiversity, earning him the plaudit of “Hero for the Planet” from Time.
Driven by Nature is the first chronicle of this prominent scientist and conservationist’s life. Moving from his idyllic childhood in the San Francisco of the 1940s to his four decades leading the Missouri Botanical Garden, Raven’s autobiography take readers across multiple continents and decades. Driven by Nature follows the globetrotting botanist from China to the American Midwest as he works to foster concern for a changing planet, further the cause of biological education, and build the Missouri Botanical Garden into the world-renowned haven for plant life it is today. Raven brings his story into the twenty-first century with a timely epilogue that reinforces the crucial importance of scientific learning, active conservation, and committed activism in the face of a rapidly changing natural world.
Featuring an introduction by the Pulitzer Prize-winning naturalist E. O. Wilson, this beautifully illustrated book should thrill nature lovers, plant enthusiasts, and environmentally-conscious readers looking to take action to preserve our planet’s biodiversity.
Foreword by Edward O. Wilson
1. Family Roots
2. A Strange Enchanted Boy
3. Botanical Prodigy
4. Formal Training
7. Expansion and Changes
8. New Zealand
9. The Missouri Botanical Garden
10. Global Reach
11. Conservation Around the World
12. Champion of Science, Education, and International Cooperation
13. Professional Recognition and Personal Tumult
14. New Adventures at Career’s End
Epilogue: Toward a Green Awakening
Illustration Sources and Credits
Peter H. Raven is president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden. An internationally renowned botanist and conservation advocate, he is the author of numerous books and has received a number of honors and awards, including the National Medal of Science and a MacArthur Fellowship.
"From his green awakening as a young boy, collecting butterflies and beetles, to his leadership of the famed Missouri Botanical Garden, Peter Raven tells the extraordinary story of his encounter with plants and other organisms. An incredible life journey takes him from Madagascar to China and countless places in between as he searches to understand the diverse species that form our web of life. In clear and understandable prose, Raven shows the beauty and complexity of nature and the tragedy of its mass extinctions. It is a human story that also carries a timely warning."
– Jerry Brown, former governor of California
"Pull up a chair for a front row seat to the birth of humanity’s realization that our future is dependent on a fragile and finite biosphere and to the story of the farsighted science leader who turned a Midwestern U.S. botanical garden into a global institution for environmental sustainability."
– Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences
"This book recounts in fascinating detail the ways in which his long, varied life and deeply inquisitive mind have allowed Peter Raven to contribute so much, both to his colleagues and to science generally.”
– Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, authors of The Population Bomb