a new era in human-environment relations

Claire Kremen

In the end, students are going to be the main drivers of what happens… and you have the right, I think, to demand things of change.”

Claire Kremen is a professor of Arthropod Biodiversity at the University of California Berkeley. Her research explores one of the greatest environmental challenges of the 21st century: preventing, and even reversing, biodiversity loss. Kremen has identified two main strategies to tackle this difficult issue: the “protected area” strategy and the “ecosystem services” strategy. The goal of the “protected area” strategy is to use network reserves to conserve as many species as possible. The “ecosystem services” strategy seeks to conserve species that will provide important benefits to humans, specifically in the places where they lack the most.

During her visit, Kremen emphasized the idea of diversified farming and sustainable practices as the best ways to tackle our world food problem. Diversified farming systems seek to maintain biological diversity, genetic diversity, and ecosystem diversity. These systems also provide ideal habitats for native pollinators, such as bees. Through diversified farming, farmers can avoid the booms and busts associated with dominant monoculture systems. While diversified farming is difficult to implement under prevailing trends, grassroot movements by the growers themselves, especially international movements, are beginning to successfully agitate for change.

While students at Miami University may have no direct impact on what farming practices are employed, Kremen pointed out that all students are still important in addressing current environmental issues. When asked what students at Miami University could do to mitigate negative environmental impacts, Kremen replied that students should strive for gradual change. We can start by reducing or eliminating red meat in our diets, or by increasing our consumption of organic vegetables, or even by gradually incorporating public transportation into our daily lives. She also emphasized that change can only be achieved while thinking inside of current systems by working with knowledge we already have. As students who are inheriting this planet, and all of its challenges, we have the right to demand action and change.



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