While the scientific method strives to be an objective and global human endeavor, we recognize that in practice, the scientific enterprise has been exclusionary since its inception, disproportionately celebrating the discoveries of a few at the expense of many. As biodiversity scientists, we are acutely aware of the drawbacks associated with uniform systems: decreased productivity, innovation, and an omnipresent threat of extinction.
We find it problematic that U.S. scientists–fueled largely by the taxpayer dollar–are not representative of the country's demographics. We are disturbed that the curiosity of many potential innovators is squashed before even entering the educational system in this country. We are angry that it is unsafe for many individuals to conduct research because of who they are and who they love. We are frustrated that many field localities and laboratories are not accessible to individuals with disabilities. And while we speak from an American perspective, we know that these are global issues. But our feelings don't matter; actions matter.
In our lab, we value and respect all people and the diversity that each person contributes. We bring our full selves into the work that we do, and we are unapologetic about being who we are. We work hard to cultivate a culture of tolerance and honest communication, and we make time to talk about and reflect on our values. Our lab is a safe space where diverse perspectives are valued, uplifted, and confidentiality is guaranteed. We work in magnificent ecosystems across the planet and endeavor to honor the people, plants, and animals of those spaces, past and present. We do not confuse merit and privilege; we are excited by enthusiasm more than academic accolades. We firmly believe that if science is to serve all and be practiced by all, engagement with science needs to start early, and we need to ensure that all young people are given the opportunity to be curious about our world and ponder their place in it. We recognize that as individuals in academia, we are in a privileged position and we do not take this for granted.
As such, we commit to:
Deploying existing K-12 outreach initiatives and develop new initiatives in our communities, both locally and internationally.
Developing relationships with the local communities where we conduct our research and creating opportunities to involve local individuals in the research whenever possible.
Striving to innovate in making field localities safe and accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Ensuring that our laboratory facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Ensuring that individuals working in the lab are fairly compensated for their contributions.