How do we define nature, wilderness and conservation? Are our ideas about nature outdated? What lessons can evolution offer for modern agriculture? Are we “fueling a biotechnological bubble” by ignoring ecologically inspired ways to improve agriculture?
Two leading authors, Emma Marris and R. Denison Ford, will share their views on nature, conservation, agriculture, and evolution on October 28 at 4:00pm. The symposium, “Saving Nature and Improving Agriculture: Where Does Nature’s Wisdom Lie?” will take place at Washington State University in the Jr. Ballroom of the CUB on the Pullman campus. It is free and open to the public.
Emma Marris, author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World, highlights alternative conservation strategies that reach beyond a long-held value of returning nature to a pristine condition. From managed relocation of species threatened by climate change to the embrace of so-called novel ecosystems, Marris champions a blurring of the lines between nature and people, and a conscious and humble care of our humanized planet. Marris has written for many magazines and newspapers, including Slate, National Geographic, the New York Times and the scientific journal Nature, where she was on staff for five years.
R. Ford Denison, author of Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture, presents a new approach to the challenge of producing more food while using land, water and other resources more efficiently and without sacrificing long-term sustainability. He shows how both biotechnology and traditional plant breeding can turn to Darwinian insights to improve crop genetics while avoiding dead ends. He also argues against blindly mimicking nature in agriculture but rather shows how a more sophisticated view of species in their native habitat can be beneficial. Denison is a professor in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Minnesota, where he is also a fellow in the College of Agriculture.
The symposium, sponsored by WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR), will feature a panel discussion with the authors and the audience as well as a poster session highlighting projects funded through the CSANR BIOAg program. Refreshments will be served.
More information: http://bit.ly/NatureAndAg