This year, the CER will once again organize the highly successful Garden3 event, a series of educational and cultural programs to promote science at the National Botanical Garden in Vácrátót

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After last year's great success, the ELKH Centre for Ecological Research (CER) will organize the Garden3 science and culture program again this year. The event, which will run from April 30 to late September and cover the entire growing season, will feature new themes, new speakers and the same familiar setting of the National Botanical Garden in Vácrátót, where visitors will be able to enjoy ecology, wildlife, music, gastronomy and the arts.

Launched in 2021, the Garden3 series of programs aims to showcase the main research areas of the CER in an entertaining way, showcasing the latest advances in ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. They also aim to raise awareness of the importance of conserving natural habitats and of people's environmental responsibility, thus playing a role in creating an ecological attitude. In 2022, visitors will again be able to discover the country's most important botanical garden, guided by the most knowledgeable ecologists and botanical researchers, and accompanied by a wide range of cultural activities.

But how did the idea come about for the country's largest ecological and botanical science institution to launch a series of cultural events? "Rather than being opposites, science and the arts are complementary, as they seek to describe the same world through their own means. Like ecology, the visual arts, music and film seek to capture the two-way relationship between man and his environment and the harmony that exists between them. Just as man cannot do without nature, and is responsible for its knowledge and preservation, so the arts and science cannot exist in isolation, they need to support and complement each other", said László Zsolt Garamszegi, Director General of the CER.

Scientists and artists alike feel the need to offer guidance and hope to those concerned by environmental problems, the destruction of natural habitats, the worsening ecological crisis caused by climate change, the extinction of species and, most recently, the pandemic that is inseparable from ecology and human behavior and that is killing millions of people. And the indifferent must be made to understand that the threat may become so serious in a few decades that if we don't act now, we may not be able to save the planet. So we need to win people over to ecological thinking. This is the ultimate goal of the Garden3, but it is far from being scary.

"We must not panic, because despair only leads to inaction or bad actions. Instead, we need to call upon science, as only objective knowledge can help us solve what are probably the biggest environmental problems facing humanity", continued László Zsolt Garamszegi. "A solution is indeed possible, and the scientific results of the Centre for Ecological Research can provide a basis, but we need broader collaboration to integrate them at a practical level. Our job is to provide sound knowledge, instead of creating anxiety or haste, so that decision-makers and people committed to the future of our planet can make effective action plans based on facts rather than on emotions. Visitors to our series of events can learn a lifetime's worth of lessons from our researchers and artists," concluded the Director-General.

This year's series of events will start on April 30. "In the first event, we will explore the borderlands of music and evolutionary science, because there are numerous areas connecting them. Inspiration and intuition play a central role in both music and cultural evolution," said Eszter Draskóczy, Head of Communications at the CER. "On April 30, our guests will include an evolutionary biologist, a music historian and a journalist, who will discuss cultural evolution, the transmission, spread and change of human fashions, habits and arts, as well as the physical and biological drivers of inspiration and musical beauty," the communications specialist added.

In late spring and summer, events will be organized on the last days of each month. At one of these, guests will include a biologist, a visual artist, a literary critic and an art historian, who will discuss pseudoscience and its artistic counterpart, dilettantism. Participants can also find out what a zoologist, a botanist, an ethnoecologist and a linguist think about the uniqueness and similarities of the Hungarian landscape and language compared to the landscapes and histories of other regions. Another session will feature an architect, a historian and an ecologist talking about cities. The city is itself an ecosystem, whose inhabitants co-exist and compete with each other according to the same ecological laws as animals do in nature. The urban theme will be accompanied by an exciting science adventure, where visitors will be able to playfully explore the worlds of different urban creatures. At the end of August, an evolutionary biologist, a linguist-psychologist, a social psychologist and a historian will explore how our special ability to work together in a large group has evolved, even when the members are not closely related, a unique ability in the living world. During the discussion, guests will talk about the social preconditions for successful cooperation, whether there are genetic differences in the propensity to cooperate, and where our boundaries lie. The renowned scientists will also address the serious challenge of global warming and whether civilisation will survive. The evenings will be crowned with concerts by the Binder Trio, Hiperkarma, Sára Nina Horváth and the Magashegyi Underground.

The National Botanic Garden's series of events will conclude with a two-day festival in September, where visitors can also enjoy a series of stage talks and a variety of garden activities, all centred around the key themes of ecology and the arts, diversity, nature and the soul. The festival will feature Ivan & The Parazol and the Péter Sárik Trio.

More information is available at https://kert3.hu/.