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The case for conservation podcast
48 minutes | Jul 5, 2021
12. Is hype distorting science? (Randy Schekman)
The scientific method remains the best systematic approach we have been able to develop in our ongoing endeavor to advance human flourishing. But that does not mean it's perfect - indeed, it probably never will be. But what are the ways in which we can make science better? Perhaps some of the most fundamental ways lie in the process of publishing research findings. This applies to biodiversity science as much as it does to other scientific disciplines. Randy Schekman joins me to pick apart some of the well-known and less well-known critiques of the scientific publication process, including the role of hype. Randy is a cell biologist, Nobel Prize winner, and previous editor-in-chief of PNAS, Annual Review of Cell Developmental Biology, and eLife. He is based at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has spent almost his entire career.01:57: How biodiversity got Randy interested in science07:37: How and why we publish scientific research11:50: Domination by commercial journals17:22: The introduction of impact factor, and its flaws21:12: Professional editors and other problems with "luxury journals" 26:59: The pressure to publish in big journals, and its societal implications28:11: The problem with not publishing negative results34:41: What's changed since Randy began his crusade in 2013?38:03: What can we do about it?43:30: What's the alternative to impact factor?
52 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
11. Performative conservation: What's wrong with showing off? (Adam Welz)
These days some very impressive-sounding conservation projects are catching the public eye, from massive tree-planting initiatives to high-profile urban greening. They capture the headlines and they capture the imagination. But do they deserve the level of attention and adulation that they receive? Or should we be a little more discerning as conservationists and the public, and pay a little more attention to the details?Someone who has looked into these questions is Adam Welz. He is a writer, photographer, filmmaker and self-proclaimed conservation theorist with an uncompromising approach to conservation.04:25: What does it mean to be a conservation theorist?10:50: Overview of the concept of "huge tree planting projects".21:30: What is performative conservation?25:19: New York City High Line Park.30:10: Is performative conservation sometimes done with good intentions?35:10: Cheonggyecheon stream restoration project and Saemangeum wetlands.38:55: Prioritizing resources for the most important conservation.41:08: Ecological illiteracy prevents us from identifying mistakes in conservation.46:27: The important, and lack, of nuance in understanding conservation problems.
54 minutes | May 2, 2021
10. How's it going with protected areas? (Brian MacSharry)
Protected areas like nature reserves and national parks are about the most fundamental manifestation of nature conservation there is, and have existed in various forms for centuries. But are they achieving what they are meant to achieve? Does formal protection necessarily translate into biodiversity conserved?Brian MacSharry is well placed to respond to these questions. He is Head of the Biodiversity and Nature Group at the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, and former lead of the Protected Planet initiative.We refer to the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) several times. The CBD is the United Nations convention that sets much of the international biodiversity agenda. Parties (countries and the EU) to the CBD make key decisions at meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COPs) to the CBD. We refer to COP-10 in Nagoya (2010); COP 14 in Sharm El Sheikh (2018); and the upcoming COP 15 in Kunming. The Aichi Biodiversity Targets are a set of global targets that emerged from COP-10 as part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which will be superseded by the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at COP-15.09:28: What constitutes a protected area?15:52: How much of the planet is protected? 15:52: Usefulness of the protected areas concept without an international standard to guide it26:12: Are protected areas protecting biodiversity where it most needs protecting?36:07: Difference between protected areas and "other effective conservation measures" (OECMs)43:28: Differences between terrestrial and marine protected areas49:54: Impact of protected areas on communities
55 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
9. Is there still racial discrimination in conservation? (Gillian Burke)
Many Western nations have been undergoing a period of intense reflection on issues of discrimination. Recent incidents have re-ignited social movements like Black Lives Matter. Public intellectuals are addressing the topic with a variety of opinions - often confined to their own echo chambers. Are all concerns about discrimination justified? Are people too easily assuming that discrimination is the reason for injustice? And... what on Earth does any of this have to do with conservation?Gillian Burke tackles this topic with me. Gillian is a biologist by training, and her career has been mostly with the BBC Natural History Unit in a variety of roles including researcher, producer and director. Most recently, she made the transition to being a TV presenter, for popular British TV programs like "Springwatch".
47 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
8. How can indigenous & local knowledge complement biodiversity science? (Zsolt Molnár)
Indigenous peoples and local communities are increasingly recognized for the importance of their contribution to global biodiversity knowledge. But is indigenous & local knowledge (ILK) being vetted, in a parallel to peer review's vetting of scientific knowledge? And how does ILK add to global biodiversity knowledge, if it is typically very localized? Zsolt Molnár helps me to explore these questions. Zsolt is a botanist and ethnoecologist at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and head of the research group on Traditional Ecological Knowledge at the Academy’s Centre For Ecological Research.Links to resources can be found at www.case4conservation.com
51 minutes | Jan 31, 2021
7. Are alien species always a net negative? (Martin Schlaepfer)
Invasive alien species are considered one of the five main direct drivers of biodiversity loss, worldwide, as well as causing untold damage to economic assets like agriculture. Is there ever anything to be said for accepting them into the landscapes or seascapes they've occupied? And what about non-invasive alien species, and invasive native species? Martin Schlaepfer is an ecologist and senior lecturer at the University of Geneva. He has diverse experience across the field of conservation biology in North America and Europe.Links to resources can be found at www.case4conservation.com
50 minutes | Jan 1, 2021
6. Why should cities play a bigger role in conservation? (Debra Roberts)
Since about 2007 most of the world's population has been living in cities and, if there's one thing we're learning about conservation, it's that people matter. But why do people in cities matter? Why do cities themselves matter? And why are cities not playing a more prominent role in conservation globally? I ask Debra Roberts, whose experience and skills range from academia to policy to implementation; across local, national and international levels; and in both biodiversity conservation and climate change action. Among many accolades, Debra was recently named one of Apolitico's 100 most influential people in climate policy, alongside the likes of Al Gore and David Attenborough. Despite a high profile at the international level, she continues a long career primarily dedicated to the sustainability of her home city, Durban (eThekwini) in South Africa.Links to resources can be found at www.case4conservation.com
41 minutes | Nov 30, 2020
Is nature conservation being too conservative? (Michelle Marvier)
Uncertainty of outcomes is a feature of conservation. That's perhaps why the "precautionary principle" is held so sacred in this field. But, considering the potential cost of inaction in a rapidly-changing world, are we being a bit too cautious? Michelle Marvier and Peter Kereiva recently tackled this topic, and Michelle discussed it with me on the podcast.Michelle Marvier is a professor in the Department of Environmental Studies & Sciences at Santa Clara University. She has authored and co-authored a textbook in Conservation Science and more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, among them several that challenge some of the less well-supported orthodoxy in biodiversity conservation.
50 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
Who'd want to choose conservation as a career? (Nick Askew)
The conservation of nature and biodiversity is often considered to be a labor of love. After all, why would anyone want to dedicate their career to such a daunting task, which is not known for its moneymaking potential? In the developing world especially, as explained by a previous guest, more lucrative jobs are pursued as a way out of poverty. And yet we need conservationists of all stripes to tackle the biodiversity crisis.Nick Askew is director and founder of Conservation Careers - statistically-speaking the world’s leading advice centre on conservation as a career path. He identified the need for such a platform while working in other areas of conservation, and gradually built the enterprise into a full-time endeavor.
44 minutes | Oct 4, 2020
Are we getting conservation right in developing countries? (Mao Amis)
Ongoing biodiversity loss is most severe in the developing world, but the funding for conservation comes mostly from the developed world. In the past, conservation notoriously ignored the needs of local people. Times have changed, but how well are conservation initiatives working for people and for nature in the developing world now? Mao Amis is a Ugandan conservationist based in South Africa. His PhD is in natural resources management & planning, and his work has focused on various aspects of conservation in developing countries, including community aspects. Mao is founding director of the African Centre for a Green Economy, a capacity building organization supporting the transition to a green economy in east and southern Africa.Links to resources can be found at www.case4conservation.com
49 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
What do we really know about the links between nature and COVID-19? (David Duthie)
This episode explores the links between nature and COVID-19, and between nature and zoonotic disease in general. We examine the common assertion that the degradation or destruction of ecosystems is a cause of pandemics, and not just correlated with them. David helps to alleviate some (but perhaps not all) of my concerns about the accuracy of the literature on this subject. David Duthie is a conservationist who worked on biodiversity for many years in the United Nations in Nairobi, Geneva and Montreal. Although he is now retired he remains involved in conservation at the local level, in Oxford, and he has built an electronic library of (at time of writing) almost 75,000 publications related to biodiversity.Links to resources can be found at www.case4conservation.com
79 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
Is the conservation message getting through? (Tim Hirsch)
This episode explores the question of whether the conservation message is "getting through" and, "if not, why not"? Communication of this message is necessary because governments, businesses, communities, organizations and individuals need to be aware, and inspired, in order to take action. My guest had some insightful, and surprisingly positive, perspectives on this issue. Tim Hirsch studied history at Cambridge University before embarking on a diverse career, including as environmental correspondent for BBC TV. He is currently deputy director of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), which we discuss at some length during this episode. He has also been centrally responsible for the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO), the 5th edition of which is hot off the press at the time of posting this episode. The GBO is a periodic report that provides a summary of the global status of biodiversity and an analysis of the steps being taken to improve that status. Twittter: @timhirsch @gbif Links to resources can be found at www.case4conservation.com
7 minutes | Sep 15, 2020
Introduction to the case for conservation podcast (André Mader)
In this introduction I explain the purpose of the case for conservation podcast, and I outline some basic concepts. I also describe the format that I will be using, and generally try to give the listener some idea of what to expect from subsequent episodes. In all of those subsequent episodes, I will be interviewing guests, and getting into specific topics. My name is André Mader. I am a conservation biologist by training, with a focus mostly on biodiversity policy but an interest in a wide spectrum of topics within and outside conservation. I grew up in South Africa and, thanks to my career, I've been based in various parts of that beautiful country, as well as the Middle East, Canada, Switzerland, and now Japan.
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