R‐E‐S‐P‐E‐C‐T: How Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is responding to climate change
Climate change is our “biggest challenge,” “most pressing issue” or simply, and starkly, “a crisis.” As expressed in The Xishuangbanna Declaration on Botanical Gardens and Climate Change, there is much we can do as botanic gardens to help the world mitigate and adapt to global warming. We have a responsibility to lead, encourage, and contribute to research into the causes, consequences, and controls of climate change, particularly relating to plants and their habitats. Our core function, I think, is to educate, in the broadest sense of that word. We must safeguard plants through seedbanking and other ex situ collections, and contribute to restoration. Good planning is essential and we need to prepare for the succession of our living landscapes. We can engage on many levels, but most importantly perhaps with policy, politicians and public opinion. Partnerships are essential and I would encourage botanic gardens to participate actively in peak bodies such as the International Association of Botanic Gardens and Botanic Gardens Conservation International, and to collaborate within regional networks. Finally, show tenacity—hold firm and true to our purpose, to safeguard plants and to care for people and our planet. In short, R‐E‐S‐P‐E‐C‐T, respect.