On May 8, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, former Director General of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) spoke in a conversation with Nicole Ardoin, Faculty Director of E-IPER, about her work, life's journey, and hopes for the future in the face of the world's biodiviersity crisis. Director Chris Field introduced the discussion.
Marton-Lefèvre commented on the recent Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report that warned of 1 million species at risk of extinction and explained the devastating biodiversity loss the world is suffering. She explained that the IPBES is essentially the IPCC for ecosystems and biodiversity. Regarding the media interest on the report she said "I’ve never seen so much coverage of biodiversity loss," and urged keeping focus on this massive issue. On the communication of science, Marton-Lefèvre encouraged graduate students to “do your research but go beyond the walls of your discipline and be able to explain it in simple language. Respect the communications element." Marton-Lefèvre also stressed the importance of taking time to speak with others outside your ideological comfort zone. Understanding that the average person does not know what biodiversity means, she advised "be generous with your time and talk to them about nature and explain it’s importance."
When asked about how she keeps going given all of the bad news regarding the planet's species and future, she explained that what rejuvenates her is all of the good things humanity has been able to achieve. "There is still something to be done and we’ve got to remember that. I see the glass half full."
Julia Marton-Lefèvre has been at the forefront of major international debates on science, environment and sustainability. She served as Director General of IUCN from 2007 to 2015. Prior positions include directing LEAD International, the International Council for Science, and the University for Peace. She is currently an advisor to, and board member of several institutions: NGOs, foundations, universities and corporations. She lectures regularly on environment and sustainable development topics. Julia was born in Hungary, educated in the United States and in France, and having lived in several continents, considers herself a global citizen.