Greetings AEP70 Committee Members and Friends:
It has been a challenging and stressful spring and summer, but we hope everyone has remained healthy and safe. The long awaited strategic realignment of committees by TRB is now complete. We’ve felt the consternation of all concerned along the way. We promised that “no mission shall be lost due to this merger of committees” and feel that in working together we’ve kept that promise. Neither one overshadows the other. We will hold to that guiding principle as long as this committee exists. We and whoever follows us must embrace that founding doctrine.
Likewise, the pandemic that has been upon us since nearly the beginning of the year and has forced us to drastically shift from past ways of doing business and sharing information. It has so greatly affected both our professional and personal lives. We have also seen radical nation-wide changes in rules over the last few years, become aware of the more and more evident fragility of the planet and witnessed the continuous erosion of necessary protections. So we must stand strong and forge ahead with renewed vigor. Much of this can truly be deemed a crisis. To quote John F. Kennedy: “The Chinese use two brush stokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger—but recognize the opportunity.”
We are proud of our new committee and excited about the opportunities that lay ahead for us. For the first time, we have the chance to work a broad spectrum of ecological and environmental issues which are inextricably entwined. So often the former two committees met because we shared a mission and held common goals. It is natural that we are now together. Together, we can see greater opportunities for more robust research efforts, stand as a more complete resource for people in the field and practice our environmental and ecological values from study to decision. We are excited at the prospects of this new dawn. True, much of the future is still uncertain, but as always we have overcome each of the challenges we have faced and together we will continue to forge progress.
We’ve already done much to bring us and our ideologies under one flag. So far, we have settled the overall structure of our administrative taskforces and subcommittees, merged the memberships, completed a series of three virtual sessions performed in lieu of our canceled in-person July conference in Denver, closed the committee’s Call for Papers, developed a soon to be launched website and now issued our first committee newsletter. A lot of work in just six months of “on the ground” effort. We thank you all. Each of you have done much to contribute: offered suggestions and guidance on outcomes from the merger, helped contribute content for our Twitter accounts and website, pulled together on very short notice virtual sessions and presented at those events, sent out communications to friends and members, reviewed submitted papers, and put forward articles for the newsletter, and published our first all web-based newsletter. We are in awe with the progress we have made together in a short period of time.
Still much needs to be done and much is uncertain. We will soon hold our first virtual business and research taskforce meetings as a new committee. These will replace the in-person meetings meant to occur this past July. Please see the schedule and details for joining these meetings elsewhere in this newsletter. We will send out written information in advance of those meetings to improve flow and make it more efficient and effective in the brief online time we have.
We are currently using your suggestions for annual meeting sessions to work with other committees with the faith that we will find shared interests and support. We have already advanced a potential workshop with TRB staff. So how will the annual meeting play out? We only know that this will be the first year in its history that TRB has held an all-virtual meeting. This will be a new experience for all of us. At the writing of this message we have yet to learn if committees will have poster sessions or even how many sessions each committee or section will have. The same goes for workshops. There is even uncertainty as to how the annual committee business meetings will be done. However, we have the utmost faith that this will neither deter us from our mission nor prevent us from moving forward with research, sharing best practices and deepening our commitment to one another in achieving our goals. We will prevail.
These are uncertain times and while we are faced with extraordinary challenges, we know that by working together we will be stronger in the end for it. We have done much already. As always, we welcome your thoughts and contributions to our common cause and hope to see you soon at our virtual meetings. Together we stand.
Please take the time to check out the interesting articles and important announcements in this newsletter and visit our website for additional content including previous newsletter issues from ADC10 and ADC30, the new AEP70 draft mission, goals and strategies, information on committee members, etc.
Thank you and be safe!
Martin and Dan