June 2020 Newsletter

Biogeosciences Section Newsletter, June 19, 2020

Dear B-section,

As recent tragedies in the US have reminded us, a long history of racism, violence and injustice are deeply rooted in many societies. Protests over the tragic killing of George Floyd and many other Black, Brown and Indigenous individuals have expanded globally, because these are not isolated incidents. Systemic racism and institutionalized discrimination continue to fuel enormous social inequity, another kind of epidemic that must be wiped out.  

In honor of the Juneteenth holiday that commemorates the abolition of slavery in the USA, we want to tell you about some concrete actions we are formulating to address inequities in our scientific society, and throughout STEM. The B-section executive committee has met twice to discuss these, and we are keen to push even further—we invite your suggestions and involvement! We also encourage you to follow the frequent, important AGU-wide updates From the Prow, to support the Call to Action found in the Geoscientists of Color Statement, and to reflect on how you can become a part of the changes taking place globally.

Actions the Biogeosciences section will be taking in 2020-2021:

  • Improve and better-publicize our FM mentoring program, linking it to existing diversity programs and networks
  • Revamp our FM social luncheon to be more inclusive of diverse attendees and early career researchers. Host an invited talk to uplift and give voice to Black/POC scientists.
  • Petition AGU to insist that diversity, mentoring and outreach be considered as criteria for awards
  • Broaden the membership of our award, canvassing and executive committees to include more diverse backgrounds.
  • Continue to emphasize diversity amongst our sponsored session leaders, invited speakers, and session topics

We will continue to discuss ways to diversify leadership, highlight people of color in our field, and include and retain POC in STEM research positions. We invite you to work with us—on all aspects of our scientific society (meetings, publications, mentoring programs, awards) to address and remedy the illness of racism that is embedded in our structure. We anticipate your support as we work through this challenging era. We can’t do this alone. But together, we can emerge as a better, more humane and egalitarian society. Feel free to contribute to this discussion by replying to this email, contacting us on Twitter (@AGUbiogeo) or by emailing us directly.

Sincerely, your Biogeosciences Section Leaders,

Elise Pendall, President (e.pendall@westernsydney.edu.au)
Margaret Torn, President-Elect (mst@lbl.gov)
Jennifer Pett-Ridge, Secretary (pettridge2@llnl.gov)
Ariel Anbar, Past President
Aditi Sengupta, Early Career Committee Chair
Benjamin Runkle, Fall Meetings Program Chair
Derek Pierson, Website Administrator
Emily Elliott, Sulzman Award Committee Chair
Sean Schaeffer, Hilker Award Committee Chair