Abstract of the Intervention by Herman Hummel, on behalf of the European network of Marine Research Institutes and Stations (MARS).
At the Round Table on “150 Years of Ecology. An Evolving Science Challenging Society & Citizenship”.
European Parliament, Brussels; 11 October 2016.
As previous speakers in this Round Table already stated we need to move to a new balance between nature and mankind. The question we need to address now is how do we reach this new balance.
An important element is, to our opinion, to interest the society and the citizens for the ecology of all the domains, i.e. terrestrial, freshwater and marine. To this end, in these domains we need proper locations for meeting, learning and studying nature, in order to see and understand how we can live in harmony with nature. Field stations play a vital role in this. We should not approach, observe and study nature at an increasingly large distance with a globalised view and in an automated way, often intended to only use and benefit from nature, like is done nowadays.
Therefore, on behalf of the MARS foundation, we support the plea, made earlier in the Round Table, for a revolution. This should be a revolution at the societal and political level, in order to give much more attention, i.e. more support and funding, to the observation of nature, and its ecology and biodiversity, on the spot in the field. There where we can touch it, feel it, learn about it, and study it, for experimentation, for innovation, and to benefit from nature in a balanced and sustainable way. Field stations, as the meeting locations par excellence for society and for trans-disciplinary research, are elementary to understand nature and its ecology.
Therefore our plea is to make sure that field stations are sufficiently supported, and not closed, reduced, or disappearing at an unprecedented rate that resembles the decrease of biodiversity.