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Event Detail (Archived)

Founding an Independent Research Lab to Change our Planetary Future

The Annual Science of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lecture

  • This event already took place in March 2024
  • Caspary Auditorium

Event Details

Friday Lecture Series
Suzanne Pierre, Ph.D., founder, executive director, Critical Ecology Lab
Speaker bio(s)

While it is now largely accepted that the threat climate change poses to humanity is not equally distributed across populations, the relationships between social power dynamics and inequality and the origins of global climate and ecological change are poorly, if at all, understood by the scientific community. Developing a scientific foundation for understanding changing Earth systems processes as they relate to persistent, unequal social systems is the objective of the Critical Ecology Lab. By conducting this type of scientific research in an effort to change basic scientific understanding and practice, public narratives about the Anthropocene, and contribute to a body of evidence to support political action, the Critical Ecology Lab aims to transform who and what global change science is for, and how it is done. Here, Dr. Pierre describes the founding and development of this unique independent research institution and presents examples of the Lab's approach to socially critical Earth systems research and our vision for liberation work within science.

Dr. Suzanne Pierre is a soil microbial ecologist and biogeochemist, a writer, and transformer of social systems. She is the founder and the lead investigator of the Critical Ecology Lab, a nonprofit organization creating novel processes and spaces for communities of people with scientific and generational knowledge to destabilize oppressive systems and fight back against escalating social and planetary disaster. She received an interdisciplinary B.A. in Environmental Studies from New York University, a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University, and was a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley. Her technical expertise is in applying molecular and stable isotope approaches to characterizing the biophysical mechanisms controlling nutrient and carbon cycling in plant and microbial systems experiencing climate change. Pierre is a transdisciplinary scientist developing the new field of critical ecology, the study of basic ecological processes through the analytical lens of decoloniality and social liberation theory. Her goal is to explain the phenomena of global ecological change as responses to systems of global colonialism and capitalism. Pierre speaks and writes about the intersections identity, liberation, and ecology in publications such as MOLD, Loam, and a forthcoming nonfiction book. She also collaborates with artists and curators to convey these topics through art and exhibitions internationally. She is a recipient of the National Geographic Wayfinder Award and is a National Geographic Explorer, and serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation. 

FLS lectures will take place in Caspary Auditorium and virtually via Zoom. We recommend virtual participants log out of VPN prior to logging in to Zoom. Please do not share the link or post on social media. This talk will be recorded for the RU community. 

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