Across the globe, climate change has put people, animals, and plants in a constant state of movement. What do these shifts mean for our world? How are we taking action? The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies’ will explore these questions and more at Earth Day 2023: Species on the Move, a two-day community learning event with both in-person and virtual opportunities to learn and connect.
“When we think about the enormity of global environmental change, we usually start by thinking about people: How will we adapt? How will we look after the most vulnerable populations? How will we change in the face of complex transformations all around us?” says Paul Robbins, dean of the Nelson Institute. “But animals and plants are addressing the exact same questions right now! Creatures across the planet are changing, moving, and interacting in whole new ways. The better we understand these changes, the better a place we can make it for both for ourselves and for the vast biodiversity all around us. Humans and non-humans are definitely on the move. That’s our focus this Earth Day.”
“Humans and non-humans are definitely on the move. That’s our focus this Earth Day.”
— Paul Robbins
This year’s event will kick off on Tuesday, April 18, with an afternoon of in-person learning and networking at the Discovery Building. Partners from the event will host tables, and UW students will showcase posters and artwork relating to the theme.
The Tuesday program will include keynotes from three national experts. Patrick Gonzalez, executive director of the UC–Berkeley Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity, will start the program with his talk, “Human-Caused Climate Change, Global Biodiversity, and Solutions.” Then dive into the genetic rescue of endangered species with “Sci-Fi to Fact: The Intended Consequences of Helping Nature Thrive,” presented by Ryan Phelan, cofounder and executive director of Revive & Restore, the leading wildlife conservation organization promoting the incorporation of biotechnologies into standard conservation practice. Closing out day one, Erica Bower, a climate displacement researcher with Human Rights Watch, will present “Addressing Human Mobility in a Warming World: Challenges and Opportunities.”
“I look forward to speaking with people about science and solutions to halt climate change and conserve biodiversity,” says Gonzalez, “[as well as] celebrating Earth Day at the namesake institute of the founder!”