Today was a rare day: this February had 29 days, and Leo Dicaprio (finally) got his Oscar, so I thought: “Why not spend it usefully”, so indeed it was a useful day. After all, it was the first day of the #GCARD3 Regional Consultation for Central Asia and the Caucasus!
The wide swinging doors of the Hyatt Hotel warmly welcomed me and quickly shared with me the energy of the conference. Participants’ badges were handed out, headphones for interpretation were obtained, presenters were on stage. All participants were listening attentively to the reports made by the scientists.
I participated in many conferences, but this was different – the pace and breadth of the day’s event were quite intense with the sheer number of sessions taking place, the many reports shared every hour, the large number of participants, and the vast amount of information. All this covering the general theme of food security and soil management.
Lectures were broadcasting from the podium and I spared a minute to think of another podium and event – the Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) and Leo’s fate. At about 10:30 local time, news on social media networks confirmed that Leo had won an Oscar. I was also pleased that in his acceptance speech, Leo referred to one of the most important topics and challenges facing humanity – climate change. He said that making the movie, “The Revenant” was “about man’s relationship with the natural world” and noted that 2015 was confirmed to be the hottest year on record. The production crew, he said, had to move to the “southern tip of this planet” in order to find snow. At the end of his speech, he reiterated: “Climate change is real; it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating”.
So on the one had, I breathed a sigh of relief that Leo had won the Oscar but his comments regarding climate change quickly brought me back to the scientists and researchers at the consultation. I realized that Leo’s message and many of the topics covered in the conference highlighted the need for action.
The presentations shared by all the scientists and experts from different countries of the Eurasian region, highlighted the need to move from raw data and numbers to sustainable approaches, solutions and integrated campaigns in the region. Many of the themes raised by researchers – ranging from soil salinity to the challenges of cultivating organic food to environmental pollution to agricultural policy cooperation – highlighted the many problems faced. And the solutions could be found not only on the websites of partner organizations, but also with politicians’ agendas, national strategies, educational institutions’ curricula and classrooms, and even in our everyday habits. In the live discussions with the researchers and professionals, they referred to many things that they want to say to the world, but will their voices be heard? This will depend on how willing people are to listen.
During the next three days, the forum presents an opportunity to discuss and analyze the current trends on food security and agricultural research. I hope that one day, these topics will get an Oscar too!
Blogpost by Tynymgul Eshieva, #GCARD3 Social Reporter –teshieva(at)soros.kg
Picture courtesy of booska-p.com
This post is part of the live coverage during the #GCARD3 Regional Consultation for Central Asia and the Caucasus. This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only.