Steve Schneider, We Will Miss You

Steve Schneider Larry Copenhagen Dec 2009 By Larry J. Schweiger

I was very saddened to hear that my friend and colleague Steve Schneider unexpectedly passed yesterday.  I last saw Steve and his wife Terry Root in Copenhagen in December when Steve and I were speaking on a climate change panel.  As was so wonderfully typical with Steve, he was insisting that scientists not just do the science, but also use their science to help drive the political process to address global warming.

Like his battle with cancer that Steve described in his book Patient from Hell, Steve took on climate change as though his life depended on it.  We need more fighters like Steve.  He dedicated his life to helping scientists become better advocates and communicators.  In 1997, Steve and his wife Terry worked with the National Wildlife Federation to spearhead a project to engage young scholars to publish their work on the threats to wildlife conservation from climate change.  This book Wildlife Responses to Climate Change: North American Case Studies achieved Steve and Terry’s purposes of both establishing the scientific link between wildlife and climate change; but even more importantly, since academia often discourages scientists from engaging in policy, this book helped create a community of young scholars who understood the importance of engaging in policy and becoming better communicators.  Thanks in part to Steve and Terry’s encouragement, each of these young scholars is now a significant contributor in their field.

“We reason deeply, when we forcibly feel” said Mary Wollstonecraft.  Steve and his wife Terry ‘s insistence that strong personal commitment makes science all the stronger, helped set the stage for the tremendous contribution the science of climate change has made for the public good.

National Wildlife Federation honored Steve and Terry in 2003 for their work and we will be dedicating a forthcoming National Wildlife Federation assessment on climate vulnerability to Steve, in honor of his enormous contribution to our understanding of and ability to respond to climate change.  Thank you, Steve.  We will miss you.