Sandra Díaz, CONICET’s specialist in ecology, received the “2019 Bunge y Born Foundation Award”

She was recognized for her contributions on environment. The Incentive Award was for Lucas Garibaldi, researcher of the Council.

The ceremony took place in the CCK, in the room Argentina, where Dr. Sandra Díaz, senior researcher of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) at the ‘Multidisciplinary Institute of Vegetal Biology (IMBIV, CONICET-UNC) received the major award given the by the Bunge y Born Foundation. The Incentive Award was for Lucas Garibaldi, independent researcher of the Council at the Research institute of Natural Resources, Agroecology and Rural Development (IRNAD).

It is worth mentioning that this prize was given to those who have warned society on the bad use of natural resources, and takes place just when there is an environmental crisis in Amazonia.

The ceremony was attended by the Secretary of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of Argentina, Dr. Lino Barañao; members of the Board of the Council, a notable jury and prominent scientists.

After thanking the Bunge y Born Foundation, Sandra Díaz emphasized the importance of public science. “This is vital now, it doesn’t matter how much we repeat it, it is not trivial, it isn’t a common place to affirm that public sciences is the key, it is a fundamental and indisputable factor of a country with genuine progress. Thanks Bunge y Born Foundation for reminding the society that public science is not a luxury, its something friendly, useful, and deserves respect, support and recognition from the society.”

“The academic community speaks of bending the curve of the deterioration of Nature, of improving the indicators of biodiversity, nature, ecosystems. It means to swerve, to go to the root of the problem. It’s to incorporate safeguards of the web of life in decision-makers,” reflects the scientist.

As for Lucas Garibaldi, he said: “My work is my motivation in life, a way towards transformation and world improvement. It’s science to enhance people’s quality of life. It is really important to receive these prizes because the society can become aware of the results and the proposals we have to improve the environment.”

“As ecology scientists we have bad and good news. The bad one is that we have quickly destroyed our natural capital: we are losing species and animals like never before in the history of humanity, quality of water and air, nutritional quality of food, the soils are degrading, we are losing jobs and our economy is affected. The good news is that there are several proposals to solve these problems but we need to act urgently as there is no time to waste. For instance, from the point of view of the diversity of pollinators with simple practices in the fields we can increase the performance of crops more than a 25%,” the researcher explained.

About the awardees

Sandra Díaz, is biologist and analyses the web of life (biodiversity) through plants. The research team she conducts presented a study valued globally: The contribution of nature for the people. That was the first methodological tool, formal, consistent, and empirical on the subject. She had a leading role in the theoretical development and the practical implementation of the concept of functional diversity, its effects on the ecosystemic properties and its social importance.

In Paris, at the beginning of May 2019, Sandra Díaz, the German scientist Josef Settele and the Brazilian-American Eduardo Brondízio co-chaired the report on the plenary session of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). According to this report, the number of endangered species is increasing in the whole world, reaching the million, and details other symptoms of the deterioration of nature with potential severe consequences for humanity. The study was collected and compiled by 145 experts in the whole world, and collaborated other 310 authors and is destined to all decision makers at all levels as it considers it is possible to ‘twist’ the current tendency towards a generalized deterioration of nature.

For the jury of the Bunge y Born Foundation Award “Sandra Díaz played a leading role in the development of the concept of functional diversity and through her theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions, she has demonstrated how the biological characters of vascular plants affect on their vulnerability to climate change, and the consequences it causes to the working of the ecosystems.”

She is a member of the Science Academies of Argentina, United States, France, and in the World of Development; honorary member of the British Ecological Society and foreign member of the Royal Society of London. Besides, Sandra Díaz received the Cozzarelli Award (2008); the Margalef Award on Ecology (2017); the Senckenberg Award for Research on Nature (2019), the Gunnerus Award in Sustainability Science (2019) and the Princess of Asturias Award (2019). In 2018, she was considered one of the “Five scientists to watch” by Nature magazine for co-leading the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

Lucas Garibaldi, received the 2017 Houssay Award for the area of Sciences and Environmental Technologies. In 2015, he was awarded the Incentive Award of the National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences. His objective in research is to develop something for the agricultural sector considering that it is the most important sector of humanity: “More than a half of the earth’s surface is devoted to crops, animals, forestations,” he says.

The jury of the award focused on his work and stated “with a strong quantitative and statistical mark, one of the most important contributions of Lucas was to prove that diversity and abundance of wild pollinators are more important than the abundance of the domestic bee in the service of pollinators of several crops.” Furthermore, the jury took into consideration “his interest on the dissemination of the implications of his scientific findings to the society.”