Sustainability is an oft-used buzzword that aptly captures the zeitgeist of the 21st century. The word is used broadly by American society, from the green energy industry to the business sector to conservation efforts. The Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory has embraced the term to the extent that it now coexists alongside the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, a department with the mission of “understanding and sustaining ecosystems and their services.” The challenge in thinking about and working towards sustainability, however, is that the term can be used vaguely and interpreted in a multitude of ways. So, as we approach the end of the semester, we at EcoPress have decided to explore sustainability as it relates to the science at NREL and the field of ecology at large.
Over the next month, we will be exploring topics linking science and sustainability, with a specific focus on the work being done at NREL by both research scientists and graduate students. Some of the topics we will cover include gender roles in science and the sustainability movement, biofuels, and ecosystem and wildlife conservation, among others. We kick off the theme today with Kate Wilkins’ piece on the Global Women Scholars Network and the status and role of women in sustainability science. As always, we welcome and encourage comments and look forward to the discussion it generates.