Paper co-authored by Stanford biologist inspires new documentary

A seminal paper co-authored by Stanford biologist ELIZABETH “LIZ” HADLY is the inspiration for Tomorrow, a new documentary premiering at global climate talks in Paris. French actress MÉLANIE LAURENT and her friend, CYRIL DION, launched the project after reading about the 2012 paper and its warnings that Earth is approaching a tipping point beyond which the planet’s climate and biodiversity will be radically and unalterably changed beyond anything humanity has known.

Dion and Laurent, who stars in By the Sea with ANGELINA JOLIE and BRAD PITT, set out to interview people around the world working on solutions to environmental challenges. Tomorrow opens with an interview of Hadly, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and University of California, Berkeley Professor ANTHONY BARNOSKY, Hadly’s husband and lead author on the paper.

Laurent and Dion were not the only ones moved to action by the 2012 paper, titled “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere.” California Gov. JERRY BROWN asked Hadly and Barnosky to compile a global scientific consensus statement with broad-brush solutions for challenges including climate change, loss of eco-diversity, extinctions, pollution, population growth and overconsumption of resources. Brown has since distributed the statement, which is signed by 520 scientists from 44 countries, to national and international leaders including Chinese President XI JINPING.

Tipping Point for Planet Earth, a book related to Hadly and Barnosky’s 2012 paper, was released in the United Kingdom last summer, and will be published in the United States in April.

Hadly is the Paul S. and Billie Achilles Professor in Environmental Biology and senior vice provost for undergraduate education.