Preparatory activity for 2009 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Albuquerque, New Mexico, August 2-7, 2009
*Yvette M. Williams, a PhD student in Geography & Environmental Systems at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), is developing a joint symposium proposal with the Urban Ecology and Environmental Justice sections. If you are interested in this, please contact Yvette, asap, at 410-455-2002 or email@example.com.
*Mimi Lam, Chair of the Traditional Knowledge Section, has initiated 1) contacts with local and national indigenous groups to facilitate increased participation at the meeting and 2) discussions concerning a collaborative (TEK and EJ) ESA long-term planning grant. If you are interested in either of these, please contact Mimi, asap of course, at 604-822-3843 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for Symposium and Organized Oral Session Proposals
Deadline for Submission: September 25, 2008
The theme for the ESA Annual Meeting in 2009 is "Ecological Knowledge and a Global Sustainable Society". With fossil fuels waning, a public awareness of global warming and biodiversity issues increasing, and new green technologies breaking into public markets, the world is poised for planning sustainability of a global society. While ecologists continue to be on the forefront of research examining anthropogenic effects on biodiversity and ecosystem function, interdisciplinary studies incorporating ecological knowledge into sustainable planning are lacking. Growing fields of agro-ecology and urban ecology are attempting to develop interdisciplinary links, but all fields of ecological study can offer information toward sustainability, as evidenced in recent books of sustainability and societal collapse. Symposia and Organized Oral Session proposals related to this year's theme are highly encouraged. Please visit the homepage for next year's ESA Annual Meeting for additional information: http://www.esa.org/albuquerque.
SYMPOSIA are the scientific centerpiece of the meeting. They are limited to half-day sessions (3 ½ hours). Individual talks in symposia range from 15 to 30 minutes in length at the discretion of the symposium organizer. Time devoted to synthesis, summary, and discussion is strongly encouraged. This meeting will include 24 symposia, and all proposals will be peer-reviewed. For additional information and to begin the submission process, please visit http://www.esa.org/albuquerque/call_symposium.php.
ORGANIZED ORAL SESSIONS are organized around a specific topic with most of the speakers invited by the organizer. These sessions are distinguished from symposia in that 1) there is less emphasis on breadth of appeal and overall synthesis; 2) they may be comprised largely of related case studies; 3) talks are set at 15 minutes each, with 5 minutes following for discussion (as in contributed oral sessions); and 4) at least 2 time slots out of the 10 available in an organized oral session are reserved for placing related talks from the contributed abstracts by the Program Chair. Organized oral sessions also are limited to half-day sessions (3 ½ hours). There is no set number of accepted Organized Oral Session proposals, and all proposals will be peer-reviewed. For additional information and to begin the submission process, please visit http://www.esa.org/albuquerque/call_oos.php.
Summary of EJ events at the 2008 ESA Annual Meeting
1) On Sunday, August 3, ecologists met to discuss "Ecology Education in Religious Organizations: Advancing Ecological Literacy and Environmental Justice" Two dozen ESA and local/regional members of interfaith organizations joined together for an overview of the history of the interface of ecology, religion and environmental justice initiatives and to discuss how ecologists might serve the emerging ecology education needs of faith-based organizations. Participants suggested the following initiatives: Provide Sense-of-Place information to religious congregations; invite members of local/regional congregations to interact with ESA members at a future meeting session; address local community health issues, especially children's health and create a list of ecology education resources that have been developed for faith-based communities or that highlight spirituality dimensions or how to best reach out to religious organizations.
Plans are for a future ESA workshop guide ecologists in the 'culture' of religious organizations and techniques to best deliver the message of ecology/science as well as to partner in addressing environmental injustice. (Note: In addition to this Sunday workshop, there were several other meeting presentations by other ESA members who are working with religious organizations, and several members who attend the Christian Ecologists Mixer events expressed interest in involvement). If anyone is interested in being part of planning events at future meetings, please contact Leanne Jablonski: jablonski@Udayton.edu.
2) At the ESA Council meeting on Sunday, 3 August, two items were of specific interest to the EJ Section:
a. The first was recognition of the Environmental Justice section with the inclusion of our annual report of activities (please contact G Middendorf if you'd like a copy) in the materials distributed to the Council.
b. The second was the discussion of fees for workshop registration which focused on suggestions that these be either reduced or eliminated—particularly for students and local community member guests. [Note: The cost for midday workshop registration was $23 to attend. Many thought this too much, even though the price for the workshop with luncheon included was even higher at $45.]
3) The Tuesday, 5 August, luncheon workshop sponsored by the EJ and Student Sections, "Extending Your Research into Policy and Adult Education: Two for the Price of One," was well attended. Twenty-three participants (18 students and 5 "researchers") broke up into small groups for discussion of how to incorporate an environmental justice component into graduate and undergraduate research. While discussions were fruitful, we recognized as the groups reported out, that there is a real need for better understanding of how to relate research, community outreach, and policy to one another.
4) Later on Tuesday, Jablonski, Nilon and Middendorf discussed "Are there missing links? Delivering ecological concepts for environmental justice" in the Organized Oral Session "Ecological Literacy in Public Audiences: Building upon Successful Strategies and Defining the Research Agenda. The growing but still relatively low inclusion of EJ in ecology texts and ESA website documents (as compared with some other environmental fields) was highlighted and an agenda for future steps elucidated. The good news is there is a growing number of ESA participants who have made EJ-related presentations, and we look forward to drawing on their expertise and participation to help grow our EJ-section.
5) The EJ Section-sponsored Organized Oral Session on Wednesday, 6 August, "Ecological Education Furthering Environmental Justice," was a resounding success. Attendance averaged about 50 with a high of 90. Outstanding presentations were made by Roberto Gonzalez-Plaza; Ramble Ankumah, Raymond Shirk & Robert Zabawa; Mimi E. Lam; Godfrey & Mary Uzochukwu: Leanne M. Jablonski and Gregory F. Hitzhusen; Mary Lynn Washington, Rebecca Jordan, Wesley R. Brooks & David T Mellor; Harold A. Perkins; and Sonia Ortega. Our thanks to all of them for a fine job! More details can be found athttp://eco.confex.com/eco/2008/techprogram/S2817.HTM.
6) Immediately following, the Environmental Justice Section held its first Business Meeting. Despite many competing activities, thirty ecologists assembled to discuss:
a. Officers: It was agreed that the first Chair would hold the position for only one year so that future elections would follow By-Laws that state that the Chair and Vice-Chair are elected for two year positions in alternate years. The following individuals were nominated from the floor: Chair- George Middendorf; Vice Chair- Leanne Jablonski; Secretary- Gillian Bowser. Additional nominations may be submitted [to George Middendorf, who is serving as acting chair.]. The election will take place via email following ESA renewal when section membership is formalized. See the by-laws on the EJ-website for the roles and terms of each officer. Note: Please don't forget to sign up on the EJ section when you renew your membership this Fall! In addition, the section is seeking individuals interested in working on the section webpages [please contact George Middendorf].
b. ESA 2009 Meeting in Albuquerque: Recognizing the imperative to immediately begin organizing for the 2009 meeting, discussion focused on: 1) developing and submitting a proposal for an organized oral session (Mimi Lam to coordinate submission with TEK Section; due mid-September), 2) developing an "outreach" EJ walk for Albuquerque, 3) engaging with local communities (Rachel O'Malley, Scott Collins, and Roberto Gonzalez-Plaza will coordinate with the TEK and Student Sections, as well as SEEDS), 4) Including an EJ-lens in our greening the meeting approach, including a donation component to registration (Gillian Bowser, Melissa Armstrong, Adriana Leiva, Ana Elisa Perez Quintero will coordinate with Urban Ecology, TEK and Student sections, as well as SEEDS), and 5) developing a "sense of place" brochure for each locale (Mia Mattioli).
c. Growing the EJ Section: An ad hoc committee to investigate and develop methods to increase EJ Section membership was formed: Yvette Williams, Roberto Gonzalez-Plaza, Kasi Jackson, Ramble Ankuma, and Jessica Mikels-Carrasco.
d. Awards: The potential for recognizing best EJ-related presentations at the meeting was thought to be more productive than supporting student travel given that sources for travel support exist elsewhere (and that the section currently has no money!). Charlie Nilon, Gillian Bowser and Kara Borden agreed to develop this concept further.
e. Not so Rapid Response Team (NSRT): Discussion of the idea of extending the Rapid Response Team (RRT) concept to a more local level and over a longer period of time focused on 1) the benefits of providing focused, regional responses (coordinated with regional chapters) to "local" issues, 2) the advantages of developing sustained interactions with communities, 3) the need to develop a database of interested ESA individuals and their skills, 4) the need to explore and coordinate development of this concept with the national ESA office's RRT and regional chapters, and 5) the possibility of submitting a Long Range Planning grant. George Middendorf, Heidi Ballard, Kasi Jackson, Kara Borden Jessical Miesel, Angelica Patterson, Roberto Gonzalez-Plaza, Andriana Leiva, Scott Herron and Mimi Lam all indicated an interest in working on this.
f. Reducing our footprint on the local community: Jerrod Blue, Gillian Bowser, and Rachel O'Malley proposed that the Section ask consideration of a social component in its donation to local environmental organizations in Milwaukee and that for future meetings would ESA investigate means by which to "reduce its footprint on the local community." This concept was unanimously supported and they agreed to develop a recommendation to this end.
7) Urban EJ FieldTrip - On the morning of Thursday, August 7, the EJ Section and the Urban Ecosystem Ecology Section sponsored a Field Trip, “Urban Forestry, Ecosystem Services and Environmental Justice.” Thirty-six participants enjoyed a four-hour walk along Locust St. on the city’s near north side. The field trip was organized by Charlie Nilon, Harold Perkins (Ohio University) and Preston Cole (City of Milwaukee) and led by Ken Ottman and Jeff Kluslow , two of Milwaukee’s urban foresters. The walk focused on contrasts in street and yard vegetation between some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city and those along the same street with residents who are less well-off.
Photos of Milwaukee Urban EJ Field Trip (above) courtesy Charlie Nilon