“Piers’s work was vitally important,” said friend and former NASA astronaut Ron Garan. “He knew it. So important that he dedicated the rest of his life to it. Literally.”
His last days included a moving appearance in Before the Flood, the climate change documentary produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. But in the face of distressing projections, he somehow never failed to remain unflappably optimistic.
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“Us humans right now are in a bit of a fix, with the damage we've done to the climate system, and it's a serious threat that we're facing. And if we don't take some kind of action over the next few years, things could get very unpleasant,” he remarked in a video in which he discussed an insight from one of his spacewalks. “However, human creativity that got us into this mess, I'm pretty sure, could get us out of it. And when I looked down to the cities, I thought of all those millions of people interacting with each other, coming up with great ideas. And I’m sure that some of those ideas can help us get out of the situation that we’re facing.”
Sellers was dedicated to drawing attention to our planet’s changing climate and seeking technical solutions to limit humanity’s impact. Among his many achievements, he led work that created the first realistic computer model of how the biosphere interacts with climate, and which helped lead major field campaigns to combine ground, airborne, and satellite measurements of photosynthesis.