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EcoSummit 2012

Greater Ohio is pleased to present the following information regarding EcoSummit 2012, an international ecological science conference that will for the first time be hosted in the United States, and in Columbus in particular—making it a tremendous opportunity for Central Ohio.

International EcoSummits:

  • Copenhagen, Denmark - 1996
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - 2000
  • Beijing, China - 2007
  • Columbus, Ohio, United States - 2012

As an advocate for smart growth and development that protects greenspace and fragile ecosystems, Greater Ohio is supportive of the work that EcoSummit participants are engaged in and the goals they seek to achieve. By drawing the international community to Columbus, Ohio to talk about these issues, the EcoSummit can help to raise awareness locally and throughout the state about the importance of responsible land use and to catalyze positive change at the local, state, national and international levels.

 

Ecological Sustainability: Restoring the Planet’s Ecosystem Services

 

From September 30 through October 5 this year, the world’s preeminent leaders in ecological sciences will convene in Columbus, Ohio, for the international EcoSummit 2012. Their purpose: to present their cutting edge work and to lead symposia, workshops and discussion groups on the themes of sustainability and restoration of the earth’s ecosystem services. Already, more than 1,500 people from 75 countries, including ecologists, environmental scientists, engineers, policymakers and business leaders that provide ecosystem services, are registered to attend. It’s estimated that 40 percent of the world’s economy and 80 percent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources: plants, animals, and microorganisms from different ecosystems like deserts, wetlands, forests and coral reefs.

The richer the variety of those resources, the greater the opportunities for medical discoveries, economic development and adaptive responses to challenges such as climate change.  Rich biodiversity provides ecosystem services like the protection of water resources and soil, the breakdown of pollution, and climate stability.

And yet, human activity continues to cause major degradation of our ecosystems. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reported that 10 to 30 percent of animal, bird and amphibian species were threatened with extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature reports that 75 percent of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost, and that up to 70 percent of the world’s known species risk extinction if global warming continues. As a result of decreasing biodiversity, some 350 million people are faced with severe scarcity of water.

Many of the plenary speakers will drive home the message that there is a strong dependency between humankind and Mother Nature. Those speakers include two-time Pulitzer Prize winning biologist E.O. Wilson and Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond. The Honorable Olafur R. Grimsson, President of the Republic of Iceland, will address the conference about his ongoing efforts related to renewable energy and climate change.

Information regarding EcoSummit 2012, including the conference program, registration information and hotel accommodations, can be found by visiting the conference website at www.ecosummit2012.org.