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Nothing survives in isolation. Every single species is utterly dependent on a complex and vast web of interactions, and we are no exception. We are just one of the many millions of species that live on this planet and through this evening’s talks find out how we need the natural world just as much, if not more than the natural world needs us and what happens when we come into conflict with it.
Save the turtles, save ourselves?
Dr Brian John Pickles (Lecturer in Ecology)
It’s turtles all the way down. Or at least, it used to be. For 120 million years sea turtles have been going about their business, migrating vast distances through the oceans and returning to nesting beaches with uncanny accuracy. They survived mass extinctions and both ‘greenhouse’ and ‘icehouse’ periods of Earth’s prehistory. Here I’m going to deal with the sad but predictable question: “Can turtles survive us?” I'll take you on a journey that follows the incredible life of a sea turtle, highlight the challenges they face thanks to human activity, and discuss what we can do to help them.
What is nature, why is it important, and how can we protect it?
Dr Alice Johnston (Research Fellow)
Humans depend on nature, but what exactly is it? Is it the ‘goods’ we extract from ecosystems like food, or the ‘services’ ecosystems provide us like clean air? Underpinning these goods and services is an abundance of plant and animal life that keeps ecosystems functioning. But, in the ‘Anthropocene’ age of human-induced environmental change and biodiversity loss, how can we protect nature for our future generations? A new approach is to think of nature as capital, or ‘natural capital’, but is it a good idea? I’ll give you the arguments for and against, and let you decide.
Conflict on a global scale: humans vs. wildlife
We are all witness to World War III, but this time it’s humans vs. wildlife. A tiger feasting on a farmer’s cow or a rabbit uprooting your flowers: animal behaviours often lead us to label them ‘pests’. ‘Pests’ find themselves at the mercy of people, who more often than not, work to eliminate offending animals. But these retaliation tactics now threaten the very existence of many species and rarely deal with the cause of the problem. I’ll examine the state-of-play and explore avenues for conflict resolution as we struggle to share our evermore crowded planet.