Valerie Luzadis, Ph.D., is professor of Social-Ecological Systems and Ecological Economics at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), a public, doctoral granting institution in upstate New York. Luzadis served as Interim Provost and as the first Executive Vice President of ESF and held several other leadership roles in the institution. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Council for Science and the Environment, and she serves on the National Board of Advisors for Planet Forward, a project of the Center for Innovative Media at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs that teaches, celebrates, and rewards environmental storytelling by college students.
Luzadis is the founder of Heart Forward Science, created to develop holistic knowledge through a balance of intellect, imagination, and intuition to advance equitable, sustainable scientific outcomes. She is past President of the United States Society for Ecological Economics and led the effort to charter the US Society for Ecological Economics. Her teaching and research focus on systems approaches to social-ecological foundations for conservation and sustainability, the study and practice of collaborative interdisciplinary science and efforts to bring science into policy. Luzadis sings with the Syracuse Chorale and serves on their Board of Directors and she volunteers for Lasagna Love providing homemade meals for local families. Luzadis brings system thinking to administrative and professional leadership roles to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of institutions through inclusive, compassionate, and matrixed systems of shared effort, power, and respect for all.
I agreed to accept the nomination to run for President-elect of ISEE because I believe that together we can do more to “foster transformation towards an equitable and ecologically sustainable society with respect for the rights of people and nature, biological and cultural diversity” as we declare on our website. We describe ourselves as a “partnership of scholars, professionals, and activists from a broad range of backgrounds.”
Collaborations and partnerships are commonplace in our transdisciplinary efforts because we clearly understand that by working together, we are better positioned to address complex societal problems. However, we can do more. The future of science collaborations is about relationships. It is about sovereignty, respect, and reciprocity. It is about our very survival.
To move into these relationships, we must acknowledge the elitist history of Western science and the need to truly respect and collaborate with other knowledge systems to solve our most pressing problems. We need to build the infrastructure necessary to intertwine multiple knowledge systems in our quest to live sustainably.
In a world struggling with violence, inequities, social, and environmental degradation, ecological economists, and ISEE as an organization, have an opportunity to have much greater and sustained impact by recognizing the power and influence that these partnerships and collaborations can have to demonstrate the respectful engagement of diverse knowledge systems — beyond our own Western science. To do this requires humility, willingness to unlearn and to learn, knowing we will make mistakes, but clear in our intent to honor each other and the natural world – as citizens, human and non-human alike.
It would be my great honor to lead ISEE in this direction.