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Professor Veronica Strang: Thinking with Water

August 6, 2013

The EC funds BioFresh to strengthen the scientific basis of policies intended to conserve biodiversity. Increasingly our science – the questions, analysis and communication of our findings – need to be aligned with the Ecosystem Services Framework. Demonstrating links between freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem services requires sophisticated and multi-scalar understandings of freshwater ecosystem processes and function, something that may be beyond current scientific capacity. Reflecting this situation, I have heard several BioFresh colleagues express concern that the ESF marginalises the ethical basis of policies linked to freshwater biodiversity.

It was for this reason that I asked Martin Sharman to contribute his perspective on the  Ethics and Ecosystem Services. His post is already No4 in the BioFresh rankings of most viewed posts: it promoted a rich discussion on the LinkedIn Biodiversity Professionals group. There is clearly a desire to discuss ethics!

A little while ago, while herding my children out to school, I caught on the radio the phrase “water is good to think through a new bioethics”. The lady talking was Professor Veronica Strang, Director of the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Durham. Veronica kindly agree to share her thinking with us in this video presentation. Her fascinating and deep insight adds a cultural anthropology perspective to the discussion initiated by Martin and bears direct relevance to the issue of oil exploration in Lake Edward/Virunga National Park introduced by Susanne Schmitt.

Please post your reactions to Veronica’s video presentation in the comments box and discuss with others.

Read other articles in our Special Feature on Freshwater Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

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