En mémoire de Fred Roots

Claude Villeneuve
 Professeur titulaire
 Directeur de la Chaire en éco-conseil, DSF, UQAC

Monsieur Roots était un ami qui a signé la préface de la première édition de mon livre Vivre les changements climatiques en 2001 et qui a soutenu la création du programme de DÉSS en éco-conseil en 2000 ainsi que la création de la chaire en 2003.

À l’époque j’étais président de la Commission des sciences naturelles sociales et humaines de la Commission canadienne pour l’UNESCO.

Fred Roots a aussi beaucoup aidé Jean Philippe Lafontaine -Messier diplômé du DÉSS en éco-conseil pour la création de la Réserve de la Biosphère Manicouagan-Uapistat dans laquelle j’ai aussi été impliqué à titre de prof à l’UQAC.

Message sent on behalf of Sébastien Goupil, Secretary-General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO

Dear colleagues,

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of CCUNESCO’s long-time friend and supporter, Dr. Fred Roots. Many of you will remember him taking an active part in our AGMs, talking with passion and enthusiasm about biosphere reserves and the connection between nature and humankind.

In 1968, Dr. Roots—Fred, as we used to call him—participated in the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme.  He was also the founder of the Canadian MAB Committee, which he chaired.  He was a devoted and relentless supporter of the MAB Programme in Canada. In a recent correspondence with CCUNESCO, Fred Roots wrote:

We should always keep in mind that the Man and the Biosphere Programme is essentially a scientific exercise and objective, [which] includes the four main scientific activities of UNESCO—atmosphere, water (fresh and oceans), solid land, and biology (including people)—and that UNESCO itself is an institution of Education, Science, and Culture –ESC. Biosphere Reserves are a principal means by which MAB contacts and incorporates the other three scientific domains within both a local and international context, and demonstrates the essential inter-relation of Education, Science, and Culture. Biosphere Reserves are not an easy concept, but they are real; and when they work well, their importance and influence increases year by year.”

In recent years, Fred Roots had been an invaluable advisor, mentor, participant and founding father of the international “Students on Ice” expedition program, sharing his vast knowledge, passion and experience with new generations.

Fred Roots has a mountain chain named after him: Antarcticas “Roots Range.” He was the author of over 250 scientific papers and reports on polar, environmental and global change subjects. He participated in dozens of scientific expeditions in the Arctic, Antarctic, Himalayas and Rockies as a senior geologist. He also holds the record for longest unsupported dogsled journey, for a total of 189 days. He helped author the Antarctic Treaty, which preserves the entire continent as a stateless territory dedicated to scientific research.

Fred Roots was Science Advisor Emeritus to Environment Canada. He graduated in geological engineering at the University of British Columbia, and received his PhD in geology from Princeton University. He has been recognized by the Explorers Club in NYC with their highest award, the Explorers Club Medal, one he shares with some famous explorers: Knud Rasmussen, Roald Amundsen, Neil Armstrong and Jane Goodall.

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO celebrates the contribution of this great Canadian and extends its deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Tribute Video by Students on Ice:


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