Conservation in the Age of Environmental, Social, and Economic Climate Change
Rising global temperatures, international conflicts, political shifts that threaten to erase hard won rights, and a fragile and unbalanced economy. These are some of the issues our organization, our field, and we as individuals are facing right now, and they may seem overwhelming, but as the activist and historian Rebecca Solnit said, “Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.” Conservation is an inherently hopeful pursuit. We hope through our actions to preserve the legacy of humanity for future generations. We hope through our research and collaborative efforts with source communities to tell richer, more nuanced stories of individuals and cultures. Conservation is also an active pursuit involving treatment, surveys, monitoring, research, development of site use plans, outreach, advocacy, education, and a myriad of other activities.
What actions are we or should we be taking to deal with the many crises facing us:
- How do we make our field more sustainable and lessen our negative impact on the earth and our environment?
- How do we protect sites and collections in times of climate crises?
- How do we need to adapt treatments to changing climatic conditions?
- How can our field and organization support the transformative movements working to address racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination?
- How do we adapt to a fluctuating economy and ongoing supply chain issues?
These questions do not have single right answers, and instead give us space to experiment, to try, to perhaps stumble or fail, and to succeed. We hope that by sharing our ideas and approaches and possible solutions to these problems at AIC’s 51st Annual Meeting, we will be energized and inspired to continue our efforts on behalf of humanity.