2022 AGU ELECTIONS
Edith Newton Wilson
AGU Board of Directors
President and CEO, Rock Whisperer LLC, Tulsa, OK, USA
AGU embraces the global community and welcomes diverse leaders from around the world, representing various identities, voices, and perspectives. List any identities, voices, and perspectives you would bring, including but not limited to nationality, regional representations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and any other identity you feel comfortable sharing.
From the mountain huts of northern Italy to core-storage facilities in the refinery near Luanda, travel has been fatal to bigotry (paraphrasing Mark Twain) for this daughter of the Deep South. Along the way I’ve also come to appreciate the power of multilingual understanding to forge community among colleagues. As a scientist, I’ve spent my whole career working in some manner toward U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 7 — access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Renewable energy resources create opportunities for energy equity as well as decarbonization, so today I lend my voice to that effort at local and global scales.
Volunteer experience that relates to this position:
Fellowship in The Geological Society brings connection to traditions of the past and inspiration for an enlightened future. My roles as Community Scientist and Fellow at Thriving Earth Exchange immerse me in the critical intersection of society and science. Helping to vaccinate tens of thousands with the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps brought positive focus during the pandemic, and as Co-Founder of the new Tulsa Renewable Business Alliance, I’m surprised daily with opportunities for growth.
The AGU strategic plan presents a bold and visionary direction for the organization. Board members must work together with each other, other volunteer leaders, and staff to play a key role in implementing the plan. What are the key features of the strategic plan that you find most exciting? What features do you think will be most challenging? As a Board member how would you partner with others to implement the strategic plan?
From almost every page of AGU’s strategic plan, the phrase “societal challenge” catches my eye. There is one such all-encompassing problem that we as AGU members are uniquely positioned to address — global climate change. Earth and space scientists, along with other institutions and organizations, can act to positively impact the biosphere of our planet by leveraging our dedication to discovery and solutions to limit the greatest threat to Earth’s habitability in human history. If not us, then who?
While it’s exciting to unite behind such an urgent and compelling goal, it’s also a daunting task, in part because of the divisions that infect our landscape. It is no longer enough to simply present data and expect potential collaborators to adopt common goals. To cultivate trust, we must listen and interact with those we seek to serve and with whom we wish to partner. I’ve found that it can be productive to look for areas of commonality and craft progress around those, rather than to attempt to resolve all differences; in other words, to find the kernel of agreement in every conflict that allows the partnership to move forward. To truly partner with those with whom we disagree, we can focus on the problems of the future; use our strengths in technology, science, and — above all — communications; and craft solutions that are mutually advantageous. With this approach, diversity of views, opinions, experiences, and skills is a strength that advances the common purpose.