Saturday , January 23 2021

A global political climate is threatening the work of ecologists

Thousands of people march through Central London, the UK to support science and research

Protesters marching to support science and evidence policy in London in April 2017.Credit: Jay Shaw Baker / NurPhoto through Getty

The recent global rise in political populism and nationalism is the creation of a terrifying landscape; the work and personal freedom of ecologists, says editorial authors in the. t Journal of Applied Ecology.

Scientists are confronted by a growing public who are increasingly discontented with their work, says the editors1but changes to government policies and legal reforms bring ecologists, documenting and addressing environmental challenges, into direct conflict with policy makers.

The authors note a number of examples; in Brazil, government re-organization has weakened or eliminated sections responsible for protecting the environment. In the US and elsewhere, gag orders on scientists limit their ability to discuss their work openly, and politicians ignore or ignore scientific evidence during decision-making processes.

Technology can also cause ecologists to run off authorities. In January 2018, nine Iranian environmentalists used camera traps to monitor Asiatic cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus venaticusarrested and kept on suspicion of espionage. Since then one has died in prison. The others were charged with four with corruption on Earth, ’who can carry the death penalty.

Organizations that employ or train ecologists need to “step up their game” and ensure that staff and students are aware of the risks, and that appropriate risk assessments, insurance and mitigation strategies are in place. according to lead author and editor of the journal Nathalie Pettorelli of the Zoological Society of London.

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