|Western Ghats, Goa, India. Photo: Heidi Weiskel|
Every August I look forward to participating in the Annual Ecological Society of America meetings, as I did last week. These meetings are my chance to stay current with the latest ecological research and connect with scientists who might help ELAW partners around the world.
I typically leave ESA meetings inspired by the beauty and resilience of the biological world, even when the sessions become technical and delve into details like measuring the number of millimeters and minutes of inundation that mangrove roots can tolerate and survive sea level rise.
But this year, in talk after talk, my colleagues describe, in acute detail, the collapse of populations, communities, habitats, ecosystem functions, even whole ecosystems. By the time my workshop commenced, my audience was deeply discouraged.
The good news is that I was able to share stories of ELAW's work, the tremendous courage of our partners, and the indefatigable spirit of the communities they represent. I shined bright lights on ecosystems ELAW partners have saved and environmental disasters they have prevented.
My message was straightforward: Ecologists must think of themselves as the bridge between information and action - by sharing what we know, we can make a difference in protecting our planet.
The data from the field are worrying, but ELAW partners bring hope.
Thank you for being with us.
Heidi W. Weiskel
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide