With more people belonging to “
supermarket societies,” there is decreased
understanding of consumption. One
way to bring back balance in society is
to put local needs first when designating power, rights, and responsibilities
regarding the use of natural resources.
Department of Environmental Systems Science,
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zürich),
Zurich, 8092, Switzerland.
A major problem in conservation
is that people refuse to believe that
the disappearance of a plant or animal
species is a problem. In Morelos,
Mexico, researchers addressed this by
persuading local people to take ownership of their environment. Once people
felt responsible for the plants and
animals around them, they were more
receptive to steps they could take to
Rigoberto Medina Andrés
Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Básicas y
Aplicadas, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de
Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos, 62209, Mexico.
21 APRIL 2017 • VOL 356 ISSUE 6335 243 SCIENCE sciencemag.org
Diversity and outreach must be built into
the fabric of the scientific enterprise. For
every scientist who has risen to greatness,
there are likely a thousand people with
equal potential who never had the chance
to practice research due to a lack of
financial opportunity or the presence
of crushing institutional and societal
discrimination. As long as that is true,
solutions to the climate and biodiversity
crises will continue to elude humanity.
School of Fisheries, Fisheries and Marine Institute of
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL,
A1C 5R3, Canada. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conservation efforts require cross-disciplinary approaches. However, data
about Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity
are scattered among survey reports and
research literature. This information
needs to be stored in a unified global
biodiversity repository that can provide
global, species-wide distribution maps,
allowing biodiversity assessment across
the globe in near real-time.
Centre for Computational Natural Sciences and
Bioinformatics, International Institute of Information
Technology (III T), Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana,
500032, India. Email: email@example.com
Myriad mechanisms exist throughout
diverse plant and animal phyla that confer
resistance mechanisms to both biotic
stressors (such as bacterial, fungal, and
insect pathogens) and abiotic stressors
(such as drought, high salinity, and drastic
temperature shifts). These mechanisms
inspire us to develop modified plants that
will be less vulnerable to accelerations of
human-driven environmental transitions.
Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin–
Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
All life forms have evolved through the
development of the most efficient and
effective processes, which are optimized
to minimize both energy input and toxic
by-products. There are many industrial
processes that can be improved by using
a biological model. Implementing such
changes would reduce the impact on the
ecosystem and allow all species to flourish.
Patrick Kobina Arthur
Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular
Biology, University of Ghana, Legon-Accra, Ghana.
Soil transplants containing microbes favoring specific plants can restore a native plant
range quickly. Cover crops such as winter
rye can prevent nutrient run-off and retain
soil. Planting nitrogen-fixing legumes can
replenish a field. Soils provide opportunities to save native plant environments and
Ian H. Street
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.
Facilitated by the recent advances in
high-throughput sequencing technologies,
microbial ecologists can now examine
in detail the genetic diversity of highly
complex microbial communities in a timely
and cost-effective manner. As a result, conservation policy-makers can now develop
better and more comprehensive conservation priorities.
Man Kit Cheung
School of Life Sciences, The Chinese University of
Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.
To protect our environment, we must
replace fossil fuels with cleaner energy
options. One possibility, nuclear fusion,
produces energy when hot hydrogen
nuclei collide to form helium. At such
high temperatures, hydrogen becomes
a new state of matter: plasma. Plasma
physicists and engineers around the world
are working together to learn how to control plasmas, so that the energy produced
in fusion reactions can be used to create
Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological
Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.
Metal ion pollutants in water are toxic
to human health and can be devastating to an ecosystem. Large-scale water
management can also disrupt ecosystems,
diverting rivers and streams, draining
lakes, and risking groundwater contamination through the digging of boreholes.
New materials offer solutions. Chemists
are working toward using high-tech
materials in low-tech filters, which can
be deployed as a distributed water supply
that needs no large pipelines, no dams,
and no boreholes. We dream of a future in
which seawater can cheaply be made into
drinking water, and water can be pulled
from the air, so that the water needs of
humans do not damage ecosystems.
School of Chemistry, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF10
3AT, UK. Email: Easun TL@cardiff.ac.uk