April 3, 2023

John Reid

Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome nature conservation writer JOHN REID for a discussion of his new book Ever Green: Saving Big Forests to Save the Planet. He was joined in conversation by M. R. O'CONNOR—investigative journalist and author.


Five stunningly large forests remain on Earth: the Taiga, extending from the Pacific Ocean across all of Russia and far-northern Europe; the North American boreal, ranging from Alaska’s Bering seacoast to Canada’s Atlantic shore; the Amazon, covering almost the entirety of South America’s bulge; the Congo, occupying parts of six nations in Africa’s wet equatorial middle; and the island forest of New Guinea, twice the size of California.

These megaforests are vital to preserving global biodiversity, thousands of cultures, and a stable climate, as economist John W. Reid and celebrated biologist Thomas E. Lovejoy argue convincingly in Ever Green. Megaforests serve an essential role in decarbonizing the atmosphere―the boreal alone holds 1.8 trillion metric tons of carbon in its deep soils and peat layers, 190 years’ worth of global emissions at 2019 levels―and saving them is the most immediate and affordable large-scale solution to our planet’s most formidable ongoing crisis.

Reid and Lovejoy offer practical solutions to address the biggest challenges these forests face, from vastly expanding protected areas, to supporting Indigenous forest stewards, to planning smarter road networks. In gorgeous prose that evokes the majesty of these ancient forests along with the people and animals who inhabit them, Reid and Lovejoy take us on an exhilarating global journey.

About Author(s)

John Reid founded and ran Conservation Strategy Fund from 1998-2016, earning the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in recognition for CSF’s innovative use of economics to sustain ecosystems. He now serves as Senior Economist for Nia Tero, an organization that supports Indigenous guardianship of vital ecosystems. He leads partnerships with Indigenous peoples in Brazil, Peru, and Montana. John studied English and Spanish at Amherst College and has a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard. His writing on nature conservation has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The San Francisco Chronicle, Stanford Social Innovations Review, Scientific American, Mongabay and other publications. He lives near Occidental, California.
M. R. O’Connor is a journalist who writes about the politics and ethics of science, technology and conservation. Her work has appeared online in The Atavist, Slate, Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, Nautilus, UnDark and Harper’s. Her first book, Resurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) and was one of Library Journal and Amazon’s Best Books of The Year. Her second book, Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World (St. Martin’s Press, 2019) is an exploration of navigation traditions, neuroscience, and the diversity of human relationships to space, time and memory. Its writing was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan’s Program for the Public Understanding of Science, Technology, & Economics. She is currently writing a book called Ignition (September 2023, Bold Type Books) on fire ecology and prescribed burning, for which she became certified as a wildland firefighter. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and was a 2016/17 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her partner, the screenwriter Bryan Parker, and their two sons.