Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From water to agriculture, more evidence that human relationships matter

The interest in and recognition of the value of relational work when it comes to science and conservation, and really across all sectors, seems to be reaching a critical point. Just this week, several pieces on everything from farming to water scarcity to forest management directly addressed the generative power of relationships between people in environmental work. I am thrilled, to say the least.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Come on now, make it stop

Over the past couple years, there has been a much deeper awareness and, fortunately, calling out of the lack of diversity and inclusivity on expert panels -- whether they be at conferences, special events, workshops, etc. -- in the science world and beyond. For me, this challenge very much extends into how I see the issue of expertise (which is problematic to begin with) play out in, for example, who is contacted by journalists as well. I would say it's an almost daily occurrence for my blood pressure to spike when I look at an event (or article) that might seem interesting, only to see that, if we're lucky, there is a lone/token female voice on a panel of six or eight or 30. One of the biggest problems with all of it, simply from an intellectual perspective, is that the lack of diversity leads to narrow and less relevant discussions, which at their worst can be downright harmful and at their best are just boring.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Questions of survival

Flying over an almost bare Mt. Shasta, with several 
wildfires burning up and down the western coast, in August. 
Photo by me.
Okay, so this drought in California has been going on for a while now, and many of us are starting to anticipate the beginning of our rainy season, which is normally somewhere around November through the end of March, with equal parts hope and dread, and that anxiety seems to be coming out in strange ways. Earlier this week, I woke up to this headline: "In virtual mega-drought, California avoids defeat." All of my days are filled with this kind of thing, like "It takes HOW much water to grow an avocado?!" or greek yogurt or other food of your choice, but I still felt a little cognitively challenged in even understanding the idea of a "virtual mega-drought" or what it might mean for California to "avoid defeat."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Relatedness in action in science practice (#3)

In a beautiful blog post, Megan Adams gives a personal and honest account of both the benefits and challenges of community-engaged ecological research. In "Doing Science that Matters: Engaging with Communities in Collaborative Scientific Research," she describes working in coastal British Columbia and collaborating with groups of indigenous and non-indigenous people with "long-standing, adaptive, and evolving knowledge of natural systems" on a variety of projects.