A scene from the Missouri Botanical Garden
The saying "if you want something done, give it to a busy person" fits Peter Raven like a glove. Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden since 1971, home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, and author of textbooks in biology and botany, Raven hosted about 5,000 scientists from more than 100 countries as president of the XVI International Botanical Congress in St. Louis August 1-7. With Harvard University's Edward O. Wilson, Raven is biodiversity's chief maven. Speaker after speaker reminded the congress that Time magazine crowned Raven "Hero for the Planet" for his tireless efforts as godfather to Earth's 10 million species.1

Raven presided at the congress' opening ceremonies, fielded questions from reporters, and delivered a lecture predicting that two-thirds of the world's species may be gone by the middle of the next century, thanks largely to destruction of...

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