Union of Concerned Scientists at the Ecological Society of America 2019 Annual Meeting

August 11-16, 2019 | Louisville, KY

Say Hello to UCS at ESA!

Stop by the booth #408 to talk with UCS staff and scientists, pick up copies of our latest reports, and find out how you can join our efforts to put rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. UCS buttons, “Got Science?” stickers, and other materials will be available while supplies last.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists cordially invites you to the following events and presentations at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) 2019 Annual Meeting, featuring experts from UCS and the academic, government, and nonprofit sectors. The conference will take place at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, KY.

EVENTS

UCS and ESA Networking Happy Hour
Monday, August 12 | 6:30–8:00 p.m. | Bluegrass Brewing Company, 654 S 4th St., Louisville, KY
This networking mixer will bring together three ESA sections and the Union of Concerned Scientists to mingle, get to know each other, and foster future collaborations. Please RSVP to attend. This event is co-organized with the ESA Policy Section and ESA Communications and Engagement Section.

PRESENTATIONS

Improving the Definition of Ecological Intensification in Agriculture in Hopes that it May Actually Deliver on High Expectations (SS 6)
Monday, August 12 | 10:15–11:30 a.m. | Room M104
Marcia S. DeLonge, research director and senior scientist, UCS Food & Environment Program
In recent years, many ecologists, agronomists, and food systems analysists have concluded that by mid-century farmers will need to produce more food on the same area of land with fewer purchased, environmentally damaging inputs. The key to making this happen? Ecological intensification, in which ecological attributes or processes supplant the need for purchased inputs to achieve sustainable and adequate levels of food production. The term has been adopted by a wide range of researchers to describe almost any change in farming practices that has the potential to reduce negative environmental impacts. As with other catch-all terms like "sustainability," ecological intensification runs the risk of meaning everything and therefore nothing, or at least much less than it could. In this session we present for discussion the idea that ecological intensification of agriculture should be informed by ecological and evolutionary relationships in natural systems, and that disparate approaches to ecological intensification can best be understood and appreciated when considered in the context of the ecological hierarchy.

Ecologist-Community Partnerships in Action: Lessons, Reflections, and Implications (OOS 11)
Tuesday, August 13 | 4:40–5:00 p.m. | Room M100
Jessica Thomas, campaign coordinator, Center for Science and Democracy at UCS
Across the United States and the world, scientists and technical experts are partnering with communities disproportionately impacted by environmental health and safety hazards: environmental justice (EJ) communities. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will share experiences building relationships and partnering on projects with EJ community partners. In addition, UCS has been offering trainings and resources for scientists on equity and scientist-community partnerships. From these modes of equity- and community-centered work, we have developed best practices for preparing for and engaging in scientist-EJ community partnerships while utilizing the guidance of EJ community leaders contained in the Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing, the Principles of Environmental Justice, and the Principles of Working Together. We attempt to provide some answers to fundamental questions scientists have about this work such as: What do effective scientist-EJ community partnerships look like? How can technical experts best prepare themselves? How do scientists ensure that they’re contributing to just, transformative change and aren’t perpetuating injustices?

The Future of Conservation Science in the Federal Government: A Policy Analysis of the Department of Interior's Promoting Open Science Order (PS 87)
Tuesday, August 13 | 4:30–6:30 p.m. | ESA Exhibit Hall
Jacob Carter, research scientist, Center for Science and Democracy at UCS
Gretchen Goldman, research director, Center for Science and Democracy at UCS
The source of Earth's current extinction event is primarily attributable to human causes such as climate change, habitat loss, and the introduction of non-native species. While not all species may be saved from these human-driven impacts, there are some solutions that can effectively conserve others. In the United States, the Endangered Species Act and other federal protections are crucial elements of such conservation. Federal scientists and their research, especially those working for the US Department of the Interior (DOI), play a pivotal role in guiding these federal policy decisions. Therefore, it is important that scientific integrity is preserved in their work. In October 2018, the DOI passed Secretarial Order 3369 "Promoting Open Science" which requires all scientific evidence used in agency decisions be made publicly available. We provide a historical analysis that details the basis of similar policies used to discredit scientific findings and the implications of this order for the listing process of the Endangered Species Act.

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