Yesterday, the number of daily coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached nearly 200,000, and nearly 2,000 people died in one day. Our hearts go out to all those who are affected by the pandemic.
The pandemic relates to our biodiversity webinar series in significant ways. We launched the series by posing this simple question: Did you know that the root causes of the no-end-in-sight coronavirus pandemic are situated in the intensifying biodiversity crisis, specifically the rapid loss of wildlife habitats and the trade of wildlife?
To foster conversations on that and many other related questions we organized the biodiversity webinar series. Senator Udall and I addressed some of those entangled themes—the biodiversity, climate and the coronavirus crises—in our recent op-ed “We Must Mobilize to Avert a Lonely Earth” in the Scientific American.
As I think about Senator Udall’s nearly a quarter-century of legislative efforts—first as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and then as a U.S. Senator from which he is soon retiring—I consider his career—his advocacy for land, water and species conservation, and his strong support for environmental justice and Indigenous rights—an exemplary case of “long environmentalism.” In case you are curious about what that term means, you can read an essay I wrote, “Long Environmentalism: After the Listening Session,” which was published three years ago in the book Ecocriticism and Indigenous Studies: Conversations from earth to Cosmos (Routledge, 2017). Even though Senator Udall is retiring from his Senate role, he has made clear that his efforts in conservation (or “long environmentalism” as I like to say) is ongoing and will continue. I’m grateful to Senator Udall for serving with me as co-host of the UNM Biodiversity Series.
I close with this line from our Scientific American op-ed: “The U.S. needs to repair the environmental damage that the Trump administration has wrought, both within the country and across the world.”
I look forward to seeing you at our concluding webinar on Thu. Dec. 3.
Be safe, be well!
Director and Founder, Species in Peril project at UNM