SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
 
  October 2010
Volume 11 Issue 11
 

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Executive Director's Corner

Mike Mozur, SETAC Global Executive Director

As the year's end approaches and with the renewed Globe firmly launched, I wanted to offer some perspective on the SETAC global program and to tout the promise of the upcoming Portland meeting. SETAC is entering a time of great opportunity. The Berlin World Congress in 2012 will occur against the backdrop of the Rio plus 20 process whereby world leaders will meet again in Rio de Janeiro in mid-2012 to ensure that there is no slippage in the worldwide drive toward sustainability. Our own program through this year and next can ensure that the Society's global impact via "Environmental Quality through Science®" is substantive and relevant to Rio.

To meet this challenge, SETAC has engaged globally and in areas of interest to its members. You may not be aware of SETAC's informal "Friends of the UN" or FUN group that is beginning to track international issues. Members of the group ensured that SETAC science helped inform policy-makers on international chemicals management during the 2009 Second International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM2). We will continue to explore crucial emerging issues and capacity building within the Strategic Approach for International Chemical Management (SAICM) in preparation for ICCM3, also in mid-2012. We have an enthusiastic SETAC group coalescing on mercury in support of possible SETAC participation in the UN Environmental Programme Global Mercury Partnership. Global workshops on pollinators, global climate change and common parameters for life-cycle databases round out an impressive global contribution.

The Society itself is gaining strength in its science and its organization. There is an active ongoing effort now within SETAC as advisory groups and workshop organizers look for new synergies and to avoid missing opportunities, through lack of communication across disciplines, to help solve global environmental problems. We are finding a great response to our outreach efforts around the world.

I am particularly pleased that SETAC is taking on sustainability in a serious way. This effort starts with a look at our internal workings and the conduct of annual meetings around the world. Perhaps more exciting, there is a scientific dimension. Here, we are pressing to bring SETAC thinkers on ecotoxicology, risk assessment, environmental chemistry, life-cycle assessment, and other topics together in pursuit of a conceptual advance in the global sustainability discussion itself and perhaps to make a contribution to Rio plus 20. Our collaboration with our new publisher Wiley-Blackwell has enhanced our ability to project our science in new venues around the world.

Mike Mozur and SETAC Europe VP Peter Campbell on their recent outreach trip to Russia
Mike Mozur and SETAC Europe VP Peter Campbell on their recent outreach trip to Russia

Portland—and our meetings in 2011 in Milan, Cameroon, Venezuela, and Boston—offers much to reinforce this global agenda. You will have a chance to tackle SETAC's traditional science but also to learn about the global program on international chemicals management and the capacity building necessary to achieve real progress and impact. We are pleased to have key regional leaders from SAICM coming to Portland, and a number of SETAC members will be presenting on capacity building in developing countries. I look forward to seeing you at these sessions, although I know that the week is jam packed 24/7 for all of you. We also will have special guests from Russia as part of our recent outreach there, and I hope that you will seek them out and make them feel welcome.

As for Portland, it is shaping up to be a truly outstanding meeting. The special symposia sessions will focus on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, climate change, population-based ecological risk assessment, advances in investigative tools for hormone disrupters, and the emerging concept of ecosystem services. Did you ask about plenary speakers? Plenary speakers will address NOAA, Oil Spills, the Deepwater Horizon and New Directions in Ocean Policy (Paul Sandifer, Monday); Sustainability: Values and Behaviors for Success (Ernesta Ballard, Tuesday); and When Chemicals have Friends—Thoughts on Chemical Management (Bruce Hope, Wednesday). As usual with our meetings, we plunge in with gusto, and emerge days later tired but intellectually and socially very happy and pleased. So I hope to see you all there, and remember, if you haven't registered, doing so only takes a few key strokes.

Regarding 2011, I urge you first to save the dates for the meetings. Equally important, let me encourage you to look toward ways to become involved in activities and governance. We have a strong tripartite committee and advisory group structure, one which is evolving well to support SETAC as a major global environmental player. There is always room for energy, talent and member input, so be sure to drop by and see me during my usual Global ED Open Door opportunity on Wednesday November 10 at noon in Room B 111; I would love to see you and to hear your thoughts on SETAC's global effort and opportunities.

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