Conference Vision Statement
The theme of the 2022 Annual Conference of the Global Council for Science and the Environment is Biodiversity, Conservation Science, and Climate Change. The conference honors the legacy of leading scientist, Thomas Lovejoy, who passed away last December. Thomas made long standing, seminal contributions to the study of biodiversity, conservation biology and climate change.
Thomas Lovejoy was a valued Board Member of the Global Council for Science and the Environment. He began his scientific career as an ornithologist, but soon redirected his efforts to the conservation of biodiversity and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. His science is best known for his Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project in Amazonia, a large-scale experiment to study the long-term effects of forest fragmentation on the maintenance of biodiversity in tropical forests. Lovejoy's pioneering research was instrumental in demonstrating that human-caused fragmentation of ecosystems is a major cause of biodiversity loss and ecosystem fragility. Lovejoy also played a major role in communicating the science of biodiversity and conservation to governmental officials, decision makers and social systems, providing additional benefit to nature and people.
The GCSE 2022 Annual Conference will explore the complex interactions between biodiversity and climate change, and how these complexities factor into conservation strategies to protect global biodiversity. GCSE 2022 will highlight success stories in conservation that should help guide us toward sustainable socio-economic development and finding more general science- and evidence-based solutions to conservation challenges.The conference will address the fact that conservation strategies are also inherently socio-political and economic, and their success depends upon forging partnerships with Indigenous peoples and local communities most impacted by biodiversity and its loss; besides other factors listed below.
Equally important, GCSE 2022 will address the North-South divide in priorities for conserving biodiversity while simultaneously addressing global climate change, set both in the short-term context of the COVID pandemic and in longer time-frames - the next decade and beyond.
The most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it abundantly clear that humanity is rapidly running out of time to confront the climate crisis before runaway, positive-feedback global warming makes conserving global biodiversity much harder—if not impossible. In celebrating the scientific and public policy work of conservation biologists, a central objective of the conference is to identify practical ways to accelerate the pursuit and implementation of actionable climate solutions that protect life on earth and ensure a sustainable and resilient future for humanity itself.