If anything has driven home the point that humans need to listen to nature, the current pandemic has done so. That’s why our interest in talking to Prof.Shannon B. Olsson for this episode of Spotlight with Sandhya. She is an authority on chemical ecology, and she listens to nature’s chemical conversations across India’s diverse ecosystems.
Prof. Olsson is Co- PI of the National Mission for Biodiversity and Human Well Being to help sustain India’s biodiversity. She currently heads the Echo Network in Bangalore. She was one of the most popular speakers at the Science Cafe event at the Under The Raintree women’s cultural festival last November.The fact that India has nearly 17% of the world’s biodiversity hotspots is of interest to this chemical ecologist who has travelled across the country and has made her home here for the last six years.
It’s not that we need to save nature. We need to save ourselves. Nature will go on. It’s shown over and over again in the history of the planet that there have been these mass extinctions that have happened and the earth has gone on, but it’s gone on in a very different way than before, so the earth will continue but we just might not continue with it.
We need nature to have certain conditions of air, water, and soil in order to breathe, eat and grow. And we are rapidly changing those conditions. In the end, the loser will not be nature but us. So rather than discuss preserving nature as a burden we must bear, I like to consider the role nature plays in our lives. Living better with nature has enormous benefits, and in terms of the 5 things we can do, I see:
- Sustainable agriculture
- Climate smart energy systems
- Eco-friendly waste management and sanitation
- One Health
- Public Awareness and Engagement with our Ecosystems
We need more women in science. Women bring unique experiences that are extremely valuable to science. Science is shaped by who does the science ; we need more women, farmers and people from different backgrounds in science. Diversity is essential for scientific progress.