Legendary paleoanthropologist, environmentalist, and activist Richard Leakey has spent a lifetime proving that one person can make a difference. One of TIME's 100 Greatest Minds of the 20th Century, Leakey has built a career and a reputation by getting out into the field and standing on the front lines. His work in Africa and abroad, from digs in the Turkana Basin to his war on climate change and elephant and rhino poachers, has made him one of the world's most influential champions of life on Earth.
The son of Louis B. and Mary Leakey, Richard Leakey, the Founder and Chair of The Turkana Basin Institute, has more than lived up to his legacy. Adding to his family's collection of over 200 unearthed fossils, he has discovered the most intact early human skeleton, Homo Erectus, more commonly known as "Turkana Boy," in 1984.
As the Director of Kenya Wildlife Services, Leakey spearheaded campaigns to end elephant poaching. Passing legislation against the hunting of endangered species, he sent a clear message to poachers in 1989, overseeing the public burning of over 12 tons of ivory. He, again, demonstrated his commitment to the fight, burning 100 tons of ivory in April 2016. Currently the Chair of KWS, Leakey continues to fight as his legend grows. Angelina Jolie announced that she will direct a biopic that focuses on his war against poaching.
Leakey founded WildlifeDirect in 2004. The service supports conservationists, dedicated to changing minds, behaviors, and laws to ensure Africa’s critical species endure.
Throughout his 45-year career, Newsweek said he faced “several confrontations with mortality — all of which Leakey has shaken off with cavalier disdain.” Since 1980, he has had two kidney transplants and one liver transplant, and in 1993, he lost both legs in a plane crash, which many believe was an assassination attempt.
The author of over 100 articles and books, including Origins and Wildlife Wars. Leakey stressed humanity's negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystems in The Sixth Extinction.
A Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London, Leakey has convened the Stony Brook World Environmental Forum and the Human Evolution Symposiums and Workshops. At the 2016 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, Leakey was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Leakey's Promise: Kenya's Ivory Will Be Burned
- Leakey on Climate Change (2014)
- In Conversation: Leakey talks about his life and career
- Royal Society Lecture: Leakey on climate change and extinction
- Leakey discusses wildlife conservation and poaching (2014)
- Leakey on Taking Risks and Establishing the Kenyan Wildlife Services (2011)
- Leakeys discuss "Turkana Boy" on NOVA (2009)
- Leakey discusses wildlife preservation and the risk of extinctions (2007)
Rapid climate change and natural catastrophes are major concerns as catastrophic events become more frequent and costly. A single event can disrupt a company’s workforce, impact its supply chain, and damage brand reputation.
World-renowned paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, named one of TIME’s 100 Greatest Minds of the 20th Century, will discuss the issue of climate change and its implications for business, our quality of life, and, ultimately, the survival of our species. What’s happening globally and why? What are the short and long-term risks? What can evolution and patterns of life over geological time tell us about our survival and the future of life on earth? What can business and political leaders do?
- Newsweek Cover Story: Leakey's Last Stand
- Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa's Natural Treasures
- The Origin of Humankind
- The Sixth Extinction : Patterns of Life and the Future of Humankind
- Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes Us Human