CW3E Student Helps Facilitate Virtual Conference on Sustainability and the Global Pandemic

April 27, 2020

On Earth Day, nearly 100 researchers, students, and educators joined across time zones, career stages, and academic backgrounds for the inaugural E-Conference on Conservation, Sustainability, and the Global Pandemic.

This 100% virtual conference was organized to allow students, postdoctoral researchers, and early career professionals the chance to share their research on a global platform, and to offer insights and hopeful words from researchers and educators further in their careers. Participants joined the meeting on Blackboard Collaborate from Australia, Peru, the UK, the U.S., and other locations. They posed questions in the chat box and on Twitter using #CSGP2020.

The half-day event was organized and facilitated by Dr. Gillian Bowser and Sarah Whipple (Colorado State University), Dr. Brian Forist (Indiana University), Dr. Andrew Ramsey (University of Derby, UK), Dr. Susie Ho (Monash University, Australia), Dr. Javier Ñaupari (La Molina University, Peru), Dr. Sarah Green (Michigan Technological University), Dr. Pamela Templer (Boston University), CW3E student Tashiana Osborne, and others.

Following the opening keynote address by Dr. Richard Primack of Boston University, Osborne moderated an engaging 12-member panel focused on pandemic impacts on natural science fields, education, climate, policy, conservation and biodiversity efforts, global Sustainable Development Goals and negotiations (United Nations COP26).

Bowser, Green, Whipple, Ho, Ramsey, Primack, Templer, Ñaupari, Forist, and Osborne sharing insights and calls to action, as questions and comments stream in through the chat box and Twitter (Screenshots from Blackboard Collaborate)

After the plenary panel, participants were invited to virtual coffee breaks on various Slack channels before returning for poster sessions. Poster presentation topics ranged from COVID-19 impacts involving decreases in new greenhouse gas emissions since the start of the pandemic and increases in residential and hospital waste, to warming global temperatures contributing to decreases in Atlantic Cod populations along Norway’s coast, changes in land cover and use in micro-basins of Peru, and more. Osborne worked alongside Dr. Green to lead a session on atmospheric science and biogeochemistry topics.

Link to student presentations:

Poster and pre-recorded video presentations on various natural science, sustainability, and conservation-related subjects involving mountain ecosystems, atmospheric matters, and more (Screenshot from Padlet)

In the end, this completely virtual, multidisciplinary, international conference proved to be both informative and uplifting. It served as a learning experience for all involved, especially during a time where physical distancing has been paramount and the future seems particularly uncertain.