The Plenary Speakers at ESA 2019 are covering diverse topics that are essential to the future of ecology and the way we humans live on the planet. These thought leaders are leading the way for the ecological movement. In addition to these speakers, many others have been speaking throughout the event.

Opening Speaker, Karen M. Warkentin, spoke about how human cultural bias can lead to an outcome that is different than someone with a different cultural experience. The way humans interpreted Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was based on cultural biases about female choice in sexuality. Warkentin, a professor in the Biology Department and the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Boston University, argues that in order for the science to remain unbiased in the future, more inclusion of diverse human experience is essential to having more accurate scientific information and discovery.

Katherine N. Suding, spoke about resilience, recovery, and the ecology of change. This is an important issue in the current state of our changing climate. Understanding how to adapt to the changing climate is important as well as adapting how we interact with the natural world. Our ideas about coexistence, resilience, and stability will be challenged in the coming years.

Diane E. Pataki, Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah, spoke about the Ecology of cultivated landscapes: Theoretical, Methodological, and Ethical considerations. Human-dominated ecosystems often are planned to meet use demand and include domesticated organisms and landscapes such as parks, gardens, and croplands. It is increasingly important to differentiate cultivated landscapes and classical natural landscapes when thinking about restoration projects.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, will be speaking about values surrounding nature’s importance. Creating symbiosis among indigenous and western knowledge would help advance ecological justice and help the world interact more harmoniously with nature. Western science has propelled our knowledge about ecological systems and the importance of protecting it, but indigenous values offer us a better way to live in a way that protects ecosystems.

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Written by Justin Stanphill