Paris, 23 July 2013 — Bertha Becker, a world-renowned researcher in the Amazon and member of the Future Earth Transition Team which designed the new 10-year programme for research on global sustainability, passed away on July 13, aged 82, in Rio de Janeiro.
A political geographer who dedicated her career to research in the
field, Becker was a highly respected expert in geopolitics and land
issues of the Amazon. She trained as a geographer at the National
University of Brazil and did her PhD at the Federal University of Rio de
Janeiro, where she has taught for the past four decades. Member of the
Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC) and the Academia
Brasileira de Ciencias (ABC), Bertha did postdoctoral studies in the
Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (MIT). She was also vice-president of the International
Geographical Union from 1996-2000.
She is fondly remembered by the global team of scientists led by
Johan Rockström and Diana Liverman who worked for two years on the
conceptual design and research framework for this ambitious programme.
“Bertha gave Diana and myself invaluable support throughout our work
with the Transition Team, always sharing her wisdom and insight
generously. A strong voice for global sustainability and development
research has left us,” said Rockström, who is Executive Director of the
Stockholm Resilience Center.
“Bertha was a positive presence on the Transition Team, especially
encouraging of our efforts to create a more interdisciplinary,
international and innovative vision and was so happy that we launched
Future Earth last summer at Rio+20 in her home city,” said Liverman, who
is co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of
Becker published about two dozen books and more than a hundred articles.