Championing Science at Red List Symposium
Tensions between politics and science date back at least to Galileo, and remain with us to this day. At an IUCN Red List Symposium on May 2, NatureServe president and CEO Mary Klein took the opportunity to reaffirm the importance of science in shaping and informing public policy.
“Some public officials have challenged the validity of science as a basis for decision making,” Klein told the audience gathered at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington. “So we have to be thoughtful about how we bring information into the decision-making process.”
Focusing on the domestic implications of the Red List, Klein noted the potential for long-term shifts in political climate. “Policy-makers are going to be held accountable for whether we actually do lose species and ecosystems. The pendulum is going to swing back, and people are going to ask, ‘What were we doing to stem the decline?’”
Klein also offered a strong endorsement of IUCN, its mission, and its structure. “Because the Red List is an international partnership,” she said, “from an efficiency standpoint, it allows us to pool resources with other nations and organizations, and really think about how best to provide information in ways that share costs while we all benefit from the results.”
“An important aspect of the Red List partnership is that, although it may sound big and international, it is based on local expertise,” Klein continued. “And here in the United States, numerous partners—like NatureServe— get involved to bring that local expertise to bear.” The symposium took place during a three-day strategic planning session for the Red List’s Species Survival Commission held at NatureServe’s offices.