The Global South is home to much of the world’s biodiveristy, and it also faces the most pressing threats posed by global climate change. As a result, patterns that are observed and processes that unfold in the Global South form the basis of a huge portion of ecology research carried out across the world. Nevertheless, scientists and practitioners from the Global South face untold challenges in engaging with the global ecology community. These barriers arise due to historical inequities that are reinforced by dominant contemporary practices, and due to new challenges arising from the global environmental, economic, and political landscapes.
This talk will highlight (1) the tremendous work that ESA members are doing to engage and uplift scientists in the Global South, (2) the challenges these scientists face in their professions, and (3) the opportunities for members and the society as a whole to help address and overturn the centuries-long legacy of colonialism and parachute science in our field. To center the voices of Global South scientists, the talk will present insights that arise from structured conversations (interviews) with leaders of ESA’s Latin American Chapter and with ecologists based in other parts of the Global South. As of February 2023, these structured conversations are ongoing; this round is slated to be complete by June. The conversations to date have highlighted a recent growth in papers from Global South scientists that suggest new modes of collaboration and reframing of ecological concepts as successes and opportunities. The primary challenges that have emerged are a lack of sustained local funding and the colonial attitudes of scientists and collaborators from non-Global South backgrounds. Given the scope of the challenges, action is imperative. Luckily, there is substantial energy within our society and field as a whole to rise to the occasion, and I will end by highlighting some of the top opportunities for building towards a globally engaged and united ecology community moving forward.