What can iNaturalist community do for our fellow naturalists in Ukraine?

Hmm. My philosophy is more aligned with quotes from Desmond Tutu or Teddy Roosevelt. "Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong. - TRoosevelt

iNat may not be the place to express thoughts on certain specific actions of governments but we are hardy apolitical. Especially if you use a more broad definition “the total complex of relations between people living in society”. Our love of nature and connecting other people to our cause (for a multitude of reasons) is a political action.

I look forward to suggestions for support. Hoping for something beyond “thoughts and prayers”.


Thank you! I know you wrote before it’s hard to id from new places, but the whole region has only a few hardworking moth iders and there’re too many obs for them. I had Cucullia fuchsiana photo asked for a book and it’s still needs id.
Ukrainian observations need even more attention, it’s still at its start with a couple of big observers who are also iders.


It really is creating a shockwave around the world.

A lot of my student (in Bogota/Colombia) asked me today about my opinion… “Are you for Russia or for the Ukraine”… I actually kind of used marinas responses… “I am for the people. There is no winner in war, everyone looses and a lot of russians are against that war as well. Be careful to not confuse the leadership of a country with it´s inhabitants”

…The colombians are very involved in this topic as russia is a supporter of Colombias neighbour, Venezuela, and the Colombian-Venezuelan-Conflict intensifies since quite a while and this seems to be another push. It´s scary.


EDIT: I guess one could read this statement as “One can get into open dialog and try to challenge preset views”… however, if you feel this comment does not serve the topic, it´s fine if you flag and delete. I leave it here for now


I think iNat users are mostly aware of it, but hardly anything will change, corporations just buy all other new techniques, so they can keep using the old ways, my husband is working now in one of sience funds, and says there’s no will to even change machine tools on factories, it’s easier to steal money even though new tools will give you more money with time, but they can’t wait, they need it right now, here everything is based on resoures, they cut our forests, sell it to Europe and then buy it back from there! Constant ads on tv of how this year there’re more gas producted (mined?) as if it was a good thing. Not a single person cares for nature.


Fortunately that is at least not literally true, as you are proof of!


Thank you, I mean from those who have power to change things, of course there’re many naturalists, many great scientists, including on iNat.


Again, I agree completely with your comments. I DO understand politics, especially the politics of armed conflict - I read military history by choice (which serves me right!). I do have an opinion on this recent conflict. If you wish, I could give it detail, which would likely take some time.
Perhaps I’m being overly paranoid, but I simply don’t want to endanger anyone on iNat by saying things online that could be misinterpreted. My default assumption is that anything said online is being monitored by someone, hence my caution. Especially since I live in the West. But perhaps those closer to this conflict could advise me about the risks.


Thanks, I will be careful. Fortunately, NPR had a list of suggestions today, and I was thinking of UNICEF or CARE, or something along those lines. :) I just hate watching human suffering–I need to do something.


Some interesting background on charitable giving in Ukraine: https://www.alliancemagazine.org/blog/creating-the-culture-of-giving-in-ukraine/ describing the charitable practices of Ukrainians themselves.

Of course the humanitarian crisis is at the forefront right now. If you’re looking to do sustained contributing to environmental causes in the Ukraine in the long term, I found two possibilities that look legitimate, but which you should vet on your own:

Ukraine Nature Conservation Society: http://www.ukrpryroda.org/ (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukraine_Nature_Conservation_Society)

National Ecological Center of Ukraine: https://necu.org.ua/en/


A note - The Canadian Red cross is accepting cash donations and the Canadian Government will match the amount - not exceeding $100,000 (I assume Canadian). Donate to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal - UHCA MWF Don (redcross.ca). No mention of any aid to Russian citizens.


Dear friends and colleagues,

Many thanks for your support! This is already very valuable, at least from a psychological point of view. I have checked the forum to look for a trend like this, and was pleased that it exists.

Concerning concrete “naturalistic” help, I do not have any great ideas right now. But if I will, I will let you know.

Please pray for us.

Best regards,
Eugene (Kharkiv, Ukraine)


You are describing the actions of the Russian dictatorship. I doubt Putin or the oligarchs were intending to talk to us. The Russian citizenship are not wholly behind the invasion and I don’t feel they should be silenced.


Then they can apologize. They can explain how they are going to change their country to a civilized country.

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It is not so easy to speak out against government actions in Russia even in normal times, let alone in wartime. We should have concern for our Russian friends’ safety, and understand the impossible and painful position in which many find themselves.

We should not assume that we know people’s political positions because of their nationality or location, and we should not insist that people should use this particular platform to express their views, assuming that otherwise they are being silent or inactive in all other aspects of their lives.

None of this is to say that we should be ‘neutral’, or that we should not have extremely strong views and feelings about what is happening, or inactive for that matter. But we do not need to make everywhere a theatre of this war. We need spaces where people can continue to interact with one another simply as human beings without having to declare oneself an ally or enemy. Certain politicians may want their peoples to suspect and hate each other. If we make iNat an unwelcoming place for anyone we will be reinforcing, rather than undermining this.


Read more widely. Russian people are protesting and being arrested. Honest journalists who do not ‘toe the party line’ are being fired. Young Russians prefer to get their news from social media, rather than state run TV.


You seem to assume, @mnharris, 1/ that Russian iNat users (and there are some seemingly well-intentioned ones in this conversation!) can speak freely. Whereas I see people being arrested even for mild peaceable protests. Even hanging a “no war” sign off your apartment balcony can get you arrested. And to forget that 2/ you, if you hold yourself to the same standard to which you are holding our Russian colleagues, are surely guilty of MANY things for which you ought to have apologized before walking into the conversation, the United States hardly being innocent on the international stage. I mean, the list of nations and groups that have legitimate grudges with US policy is huge…

I’m hugely upset and angry about Ukraine too and think we should be sending weapons as well as butterfly pictures, but that anger does not extend to individual Russians.


I was also composing a reply, but your post says all that I wanted to say in a better way.
One of the main tenets of iNat is to assume that people mean no harm. I find that to be a good way of looking at things, although I don’t always accomplish it. I have no wish to demonise anyone, no matter where they live, and will continue to interact with whomever I can help on iNat.


Then let’s all of us get in line to issue our apologies for what our respective governments have done. Because there is a lot the USA has done in just this century (and is still doing) that I am certainly not proud of and did not support. One can still love their country and yet despise what its leadership does or fails to do.


Let us tell the truth, let us show the scale of the aggression, let the entries always show solidarity with the Ukrainians and indignation at Russia’s aggression; I live in Poland, in a city close to the border with Ukraine, we have thousands of war refugees !


I don’t think you should mistake kindness on the forum for neutrality. I am not neutral. My great grandparents fled Ukraine. I was raised in family with Ukrainian traditions. (I wish I had learned to speak Ukrainian as my grandmother did). Though I have no current connections to Ukraine, because of my family history in part (though long, long ago now), I am concerned, horrified, and saddened, and as my previous posts indicate, I am trying elsewhere to donate to organizations that offer aid, and I support the international sanctions. But, I don’t think we need to make the forum a war zone too. iNat has been a solace to me during the pandemic and now during this horrible moment. At least one post indicates we have offered some sense of community for those in Ukraine, and I hope that we provide that solace to people in other countries as well, including Russia who are upset and afraid (the protests have been loud and strong there as well). This site provides an international perspective for us all and a learning experience. We have a chance to interact and gain information from each other. Let’s not exclude anyone from that chance or from this forum (including you). I understand your anger, but perhaps, you could use it to offer aid where you can? There are other places to promote awareness of events and to donate. I would be all for a list of reputable organizations where iNatters could donate if they wanted, like UNICEF, if the forum permits such a list. These organizations help people across the world and are active in Ukraine or on the border now. Peace be with you and us all.