On behalf of the ESA Board, I’m writing to you to acknowledge the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in as a global community facing the COVID-19 pandemic.
As an immune-suppressed person, I’m already in preventative isolation working from home and I know you all will also be feeling the impacts on your work, family lives, businesses, and more. This comes on the back of our unprecedented bushfire season, and the stress this has caused for so many of us, as well as the ecosystems and species that we know and treasure.
To say that circumstances are overwhelming seems to be quite an understatement. To anyone struggling with current events and feeling like you need some help, we encourage you to reach out to friends and family, or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 at any time night or day.
Also remember that your ESA community is here for you.
Social distancing and isolation don’t have to mean that people are alone or disconnected. Please reach out to your friends and colleagues, keep up your good work, and be kind to each other.
The ESA has always stood up for science and the value of sound evidence, and that is certainly coming to the fore at the moment. In the maelstrom of information circulating through all of our channels, please remember to consult official and credible sources of health advice at this time.
For our part, the ESA is continuing with business as usual. Most of our work has always been done ‘virtually’, given that our staff, Board, and other volunteers are distributed nationally.
At this stage we are proceeding with plans for the ESA conference in Wollongong in November. You’ll see the call for symposia open at the moment, so please put your ideas in! Although indoor gatherings of over 100 people are currently banned, we are hopeful that this will change before November. Will we closely monitor all official advice on large gatherings in light of COVID-19 and keep you updated.
We are also continuing our work to support bushfire recovery actions being undertaken by the Commonwealth and State Governments, as well as the individual needs you may have. If you have a specific request for assistance in relation to bushfire recovery actions, or if you can offer assistance in the form of expertise, equipment, or donations, please do so here.
The ESA is also continuing to engage with important national consultations like the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, known colloquially as the Bushfires Royal Commission.
And finally, if you’re getting a little tired of singing Happy Birthday while you wash your hands, perhaps try the Australian ecological classic ‘Growl growl green frog’ one of the smash hits from last year’s science communication symposium at ESA19.