Science for a Blue Planet

Featuring cutting-edge work, discoveries, and challenges of our scientists, our partners, and the larger conservation science community.

The Election, Climate Change, and Conservation Science

by Mani Oliva, CEO

As we congratulate the incoming administration of President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris, we recognize that many important challenges will require their immediate and sustained attention. These include a continuing global pandemic, our national health and economic structures, and very serious social and racial justice questions. Underpinning successful actions to address these important issues will be an ambitious and science-driven strategy to address the growing climate change crisis and the loss of important biodiversity, both of which directly impact every facet of our lives and wellbeing. As climate change continues to create “new normal” conditions–such as hotter temperatures and longer, more severe droughts that further deteriorate our environment, strain our societal framework, and increase divisions and inequity–a baseline of scientific knowledge and a willingness to collaborate to build new adaptive solutions will be required.

For over 55 years Point Blue has been at the forefront of developing the science to carefully monitor the health of our ecosystems and design successful solutions to protect wildlife and our natural resources. And in recent decades, we’ve prioritized the study and advancement of innovative, nature-based solutions to fight climate change. Although successfully addressing the climate crisis will require efforts across many fronts, nature-based solutions can offer powerful multiple benefits within a single action. For example, our work studying and implementing healthy soil practices has demonstrated immense potential to reduce carbon emissions to the atmosphere, increase the availability of groundwater, create food systems more resilient to changing weather patterns, and provide a healthier ecosystem and abundant biodiversity.

Scientific inquiry around the behavior and health of migratory birds led to our establishment in Point Reyes over five decades ago. Although we have expanded our scope of work since that time, we have always held scientific inquiry, integrity, and rigor as the basis for all of our work–we know that lasting impact comes from a strong foundation of understanding and grows when others can replicate, challenge and improve upon our work.

As the impact of our work grew across California–from the Sierras to the coast, and beyond California’s borders–we quickly learned that sustaining impact requires an equal dedication to partnership. Point Blue has a long history of partnering with land owners; policy makers; federal, state, and local agencies; and other organizations and community members. These partnerships have enabled us to not just identify and conduct innovative scientific research, but to implement collaborative conservation and climate change solutions that are sustainable far into the future. Increasing our impact to meet the growing effects of climate change will require  new and stronger partnerships. That is why in the coming years Point Blue will build upon our successful model of science and partnerships and expand the communities that we work with, with a specific emphasis on historically marginalized communities which are often the most affected and can offer new and bold ideas and increase our collective impact.

The challenges that face the incoming administration and all of us to successfully fight climate change and protect our planet are immense. However, I am confident that we can change our trajectory and meet this moment through a new, more ambitious, and more diverse movement driven by science and partnership.