In the weeks leading up to, and since, the most recent US election highlight the degree on acrimony in America; we are an uncivilized country. I guess that nearly every American would agree that this country has never been more divided in their lifetimes than it is right now. I grew up in the eras of Civil rights and Vietnam and that was, indeed, divisive. Campus protests, Capital marches, and even riots in the streets. However, now the issues are broader: war and civil rights along with energy, economy, environment, immigration and others. Further, the actors are not simply the dispossessed and college students, but people from all sectors along with our political leaders and leading news outlets. It seems dauntingly divisive at a scale that transcends the 1960’s. Can discourse focused on natural resource decisions provide an outlet to regain civility and treat heterogeneous opinions as just that, and not colors of flags on a battlefield?
Oh, I hope so. But then I am but a humble plant ecologist. Natural resource management is challenged by the human destruction of resources placing species at risk of extinction. One potential ‘solution’, upon which I have written, is Assisted Migration (AM). AM is deeply dividing the conservation community. Proponents argue that we need to deploy AM to reduce the magnitude of future extinctions. Opponents argue that it is too risky, not likely to succeed, will cause another suite of problems, or is ethically misguided. It is the ‘ethically misguided’ that is at the core of this essay.
“So how does that work? How do you get a bunch of books or whatever into DNA format?” –my Dad
A recent article my Dad read in The Atlantic ("Fun with DNA") about DNA spurred an interesting conversation about the state of genetics, our knowledge of DNA, and even more so, about the depth of (mis)understanding between the scientists and the public.
The Society for Environmental Journalists met recently in Sacramento California. I went to two events. While both events were well-planned informative and entertaining, I was left with a lingering question: why would I want to learn how to become a good science communicator?
Three obvious possible answers come quickly to mind:
By Dena Spatz
I am 1,000 miles southwest of Hawaii and over 3,000 miles to the closest continent. I fall asleep to the squeaks of Brown Noddy and White Tern chicks and I wake up to the blow of the trade winds from the northeast. Before our 7:30 am breakfast, my team and I prepare our lagoon boats with a can of gas, the gear for the day, and our deep freezer-treated clothing that help to prevent insects and soils from spreading among all the islands we visit each day. By 8:30, we motor towards one of the many islets within Palmyra Atoll, a U.S. territory occupied by a handful of researchers and staff from the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
By Zack Steel
Summer moves to fall, and fire season is accelerating. Once again, it looks to be a major season, (perhaps fueled by a weak monsoon) although we have not yet had a really big one in the Sierra Nevada. Jane Little recently put out an article in High Country News regarding the dead trees in the Sierra Nevada and the potential for fire. So, like the Roman god Janus: looking backward, looking forward,... what would Janus do?
By: Michael Peterson
Nine feet is one foot shorter than a basketball hoop. Nine feet is higher than the average residential ceiling height. Nine feet is the length from the tip of one horn to the other of a large Long-horned Bison, one of five species in the Bison genus. The Long-horned Bison is one of three species now extinct, but its extant (still living) relative, the American Bison, is now the national mammal of the United States of America.
How can we transform what typically becomes a lose-lose for the environment as we squabble and turn it into a win-win?
I recently attended the North American Congress for Conservation Biology in Madison, Wisconsin. The focus was “Communicating Science for Conservation Action.” This got me thinking about science communication. I also have a broken wrist, so I’m writing this with dictation software. This also makes me think about communication. So let me tell you a story.
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