The issue of animal and animal parts trafficking is one that commands a plethora of resources and time from conservation organizations across the world; the hunting of tigers in Russia, the smuggling of Rhino ivory in Africa, and the use of pangolin in traditional medicine are just a few of the issues which we must face. For this student panel session, we would present work which these researchers had completed on the topic of trafficking. This work could be ranging from the effects on animal species to the effects on humans, and everything in between. A panel organizer would be present on the stage alongside the researchers in order to facilitate the discussion and relay questions.
The concept of smuggling is naturally multi-disciplinary because it ties in multiple concepts. There is the biological aspect of smuggling; how does poaching harm ecosystems, animal communities, and the world as a whole. There is the social anthropology aspect; for what reasons are animals and animal parts desired across the world? What cultures does this trade typically benefit? There is the economic aspect; What are the economic incentives to poaching in different regions? What makes communities turn to poaching as a means of income? And finally there is the international affairs aspect: How do countries coordinate to stop poaching? How do the laws of different countries mix or clash? What routes do smugglers use to traffick goods? There are a hundred different ways to approach the pressing issue of trafficking, and through the ENVX Symposium we can highlight how different approaches correlate.
By coordinating with professors, the best possible candidates with the best possible understanding can be provided to help frame our discussion. Excellent discourse will be facilitated through excellent understanding. The students’ fresh work paired with the experience of their professors will help ensure an interesting, thought-provoking panel.
Finally, the last ‘who’ of the panel regards the audience. Each audience is different, and everyone has their own reasons for attending a talk. Which aspect of trafficking do they find most interesting? Were they attracted to the panel because of social anthropology or because of biology? By having a wide range of knowledge present, the ENVX Symposium hopes that a wide range of audience members would be inclined to attend. Furthermore, students training in these fields, or just ones who found this topic interesting, would have an amazing opportunity to see first-hand the work that their peers are pursuing.
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, we must make radical changes in our everyday life to adjust to this fierce reality. Simply put, it would be impossible to safely host a symposium where potentially hundreds of people would be in close contact. Thankfully in our digital age, there are different ways we can deliver new ideas to the public without placing individuals in harm’s way; the use of computers to facilitate dialogue will be a large part of this panel, and a large part of the 23rd annual ENVX Symposium as a whole. A plethora of different applications exist to bridge the gap between isolated individuals, and finding the right one for our panel could bring a fresh perspective to the symposium. Streaming the panel would allow for audience members to ask questions in real time by messaging the facilitator, and if someone missed the event they would be able to watch a recorded version of it.
The ENVX Symposium faces new challenges this year, some purposeful and some unexpected, but is determined to let them bring a fresh perspective to an event which champions the constant upheaval of unchallenged notions.