Ecological Society of America Responds to Pope Francis’ Encyclical, LAUDATO SI: ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 29, 2015
Contact: Liza Lester, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, LLester@esa.org

The following statement is attributable to the Ecological Society of America (ESA), President-elect Monica G. Turner, PhD, President David W. Inouye, PhD and Immediate Past-president Jill S. Baron, PhD. ESA represents nearly 10,000 professional ecologists in the US.

ESA President-elect Monica Turner headshot

ESA President-elect Monica Turner

Colorado State University

ESA Past-president Jill Baron

ESA President David Inouye

ESA President David Inouye

WASHINGTON, DC — “The Ecological Society of America commends Pope Francis for his insightful encyclical on the environment. Addressed to everyone on this planet, the letter issued on 18 June 2015 is an eloquent plea for responsible Earth stewardship. The pope is clearly informed by the science underpinning today’s environmental challenges. The encyclical deals directly with climate change, its potential effects on humanity and disproportionate consequences for the poor, and the need for intergenerational equity. The document is remarkable for its breadth, as it also addresses pollution, overuse of natural resources, landscape change, sense of place, and the loss of biodiversity. The pope recognizes that slow rates of change can mask the seriousness of environmental problems and the urgency to act. Pope Francis also acknowledges the importance of all taxa and all levels of biodiversity in sustaining our global commons.

“In addition to drawing attention to global change, we are very pleased to see a world leader of his stature advocate strongly for ecological research and education. Pope Francis writes, ‘Greater investment needs to be made in research aimed at understanding more fully the functioning of ecosystems and adequately analyzing the different variables associated with any significant modification of the environment.’ At a time when science is woefully politicized, the pope stresses the importance of unfettered research, stating that ‘… it is essential to give researchers their due role, to facilitate their interactions, and to ensure broad academic freedom.’ Noting that education is fundamental to change, the pope – an experienced teacher himself – advocates passionately for ecological education at all levels. We firmly agree with these sentiments, which align well with the mission of the Ecological Society of America.

“Today’s environmental dilemmas require bold responses, and the pope suggests actions to sustain ecosystems at local to global scales. He sees the need for comprehensive solutions solidly grounded in understanding of nature and society. Because there is no single path to sustainability, he sees generating viable future scenarios as necessary to stimulate dialogue toward finding solutions. We concur.

“Science and religion offer different but complementary ways of engaging the world around us. Ecologists produce fundamental understanding that helps to meet the challenges outlined so well by Pope Francis, such as planning a sustainable and diversified agriculture, promoting better management of marine and forest resources, and providing universal access to drinking water. Support for these goals by religion will facilitate their achievement. We thank Pope Francis for entering into this discussion. We hope his leadership will lead to serious dialogue among – and action by –the world’s religious, political and scientific leaders on the environmental challenges facing this and future generations of humanity.”


The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

UMD Professor David Inouye named President of the Ecological Society of America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205, Alison@esa.org

 

140923 David Inouye with flowersDavid Inouye, plant ecologist and professor emeritus of the Department of Biology at the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park has been named President of the Ecological Society of America.

Elected by the members of ESA for a one-year term, Inouye presides over the world’s largest professional society of ecologists. Its membership comprises 10,000 researchers, educators, natural resource managers and students, reflecting the diverse interests and activities of the Society. As President, Inouye now chairs ESA’s governing board, which lays out the Society’s vision for overall goals and objectives.

“I’m greatly honored to be leading the ESA as it reaches its 100th anniversary. I’ve been a member for over four decades, since I was a graduate student, and have watched and participated as the Society has grown in membership, number and prestige of journals published, size of its annual meeting, and all other metrics of success.

The Washington, D.C. office provides a valuable service to government and other organizations by making the expertise of its membership available for advice on ecological issues, and we have an excellent educational program that is helping to train a diverse next generation of ecologists.

We will also expand our international impact this year as we jointly publish a new journal with the Ecological Society of China. I look forward to the next century of growth and success by the Society,” Inouye said.

Inouye’s pollinator and wildflower research has encompassed pollination biology, flowering phenology, plant demography and plant-animal interactions in both the US and abroad since 1971. Over his 44-year tenure at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab near Crested Butte, Colorado, Inouye has discovered that the wildflower growing season has increased by 35 days since the 1970s. His long-term studies of flowering phenology and plant demography are providing insights into the effects of climate change at high altitudes.

He is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) fast-track assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production, sits on the governing boards of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and the USA-National Phenology Network, is a is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable on Public Information in the Life Sciences, and serves on numerous scientific publication editorial boards.

Inouye has taught courses in ecology and conservation biology at UMD and also instructed at the University of Colorado’s Mountain Research Station, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and with the Organization for Tropical Studies.

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ESA is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth.  The 10,000 member Society publishes sixjournalsand broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts over 3,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

USGS scientist named Ecological Society of America president

For immediate release:  Monday, 9 September 2013                        

Contact: Terence Houston (202) 833-8773 x 224; terence@esa.org

ESA president Jill Baron. Credit: ESA file photo.

ESA president Jill Baron. Credit: ESA file photo.

Jill Baron, an ecosystem ecologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and a senior research ecologist with Colorado State University’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, has been named President of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the world’s largest organization of professional ecologists. As president, Baron now chairs ESA’s governing board, which lays out the vision for overall goals and objectives for the Society. 

“Ecologists explore the organisms and processes that make up the living world, but we also evaluate the environmental and societal consequences of human activities,” said Baron.  “For many of us, this knowledge drives us to seek solutions and promote better stewardship of our natural resources. As well we should: the funding that supports our work comes with the expectation that we will give back to the public that subsidizes us; this is something I, as a civil servant, am keenly aware of. The Ecological Society of America is a tremendously effective vehicle for discharging our responsibility to society.  ESA’s rich portfolio of activities, from its influential journals, public affairs and communication activities, education, science office, and vibrant meetings, reflect how the Society both promotes the science and its application.  It is an honor and a privilege for me to help lead these tasks.”  

Baron is co-Director of the John Wesley Powell Center for Earth System Science Analysis and Syntheisis, a center founded to promote the emergence of new knowledge through interdisciplinary collaboration.  Baron’s own research has helped inform policy related to air-quality issues in the state of Colorado. For over three decades, she has researched the effects of atmospheric deposition and climate change on Rocky mountain lakes, forests, and soils.    Her work has garnered recognition from a swath of federal agencies. Most recently, she was recognized with two National Park Service awards: the 2012 Intermountain Region Regional Director’s Natural Resource Award and the 2011 Rocky Mountain National Park Stewardship Award. She was also honored with Department of Interior Meritorious Service Award in 2002.

Baron was editor of ESA’s Issues in Ecology for several years and previously served as Member at Large on ESA’s governing board. Baron was lead author of the US Climate Change Science Program report on Climate Change Adaption Options for National Parks, and a contributor to the National Climate Assessment.  She has served on the Department of Interior’s Climate Change Task Force and was part of the Science Strategy Team that structured the scientific direction of the USGS. She has authored over 140 publications and edited two books, including Rocky Mountain Futures, an ecological perspective that addresses past, present, and future human-environment interactions.

 

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and the trusted source of ecological knowledge.  ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth.  The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org or find experts in ecological science at http://www.esa.org/pao/rrt/.