Monday, August 8, 2011: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Ballroom C, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Robert B. Jackson
Moderator: Robert B. JacksonSociety has at best a few decades to reverse the current unsustainable trends in global resource use, biodiversity loss, population growth, and many other factors today. As ecologists, we are challenged to provide data and creative ideas that will help solve these problems, to be better stewards of the world around us. Combined with the oral sessions proposed below (see “justification”), this symposium launches the Ecological Society of America’s new Earth Stewardship initiative. The science of earth stewardship requires interdisciplinary collaboration among the natural and social sciences, including climate, earth, and ocean science, environmental sciences, ecology, psychology, sociology, political science, and anthropology. The list of speakers for this symposium (and in the related sessions) acknowledges the breadth needed to provide a scientific foundation for earth-system stewardship. Given that breadth, the first talk defines physical stability in the Earth system using a long-term, paleo perspective. It illustrates how and why the earth has been relatively stable for millions of years – and the ways in which we are moving outside that stable Holocene envelope. The second speaker takes us to the present, providing the justification for why earth stewardship must address issues in a socio-ecological context. People are the drivers of global change today; people must be part of the solution. The third speaker will address institutions as both a lever and a potential hindrance to improving earth stewardship, complementing the previous topic of socio-ecological systems. Speaker four uses ecological data to examine thresholds in earth stewardship. Long-term records, adaptive management, and modeling the future are all important components of successful earth stewardship. A look to the future continues squarely in the fifth and sixth speakers, who will examine current and projected trends in science, technology, and demography. Technological growth and urbanization are radically changing the face of the earth today. Where those trajectories take us will greatly influence the sustainability of the Earth. Finally, the last two speakers address stability as a window to future stewardship. Proper management of food security, disaster response, and human well-being are key elements of earth stewardship now and in the future. The session will end with a panel discussion on earth stewardship, centered on audience questions and participation.
Physiological Ecology, Science, Environmental Justice, Human Ecology Section
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