Science Communication: Aims, Climate Change and the Anthropocene

Welcome to Science is Screaming, a blog that, in the world of ‘post-truths’, ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, will hopefully provide some scientific sanity, (as well as ticking the boxes of my tertiary degree).

Recently I went to my first Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (BCMS) lecture, where I was introduced to the art of blogging, Westworld and Sue Turnbull; a wonderful character who questioned my eating habits and career goals. After she launched a microphone in my direction, I informed Sue (and the rest of the lecture theatre) that Communication and Media Studies was my ticket to becoming a Science Communicator, someone who bridges the gap between the scientific community and the public at large.

BCMS represents only half of my concurrent enrolment at university. I will also be concentrating on a Bachelor of Science, as I attempt to educate both myself and the public about the ever-changing world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and the increasingly degraded state of our environment.

So what are my aims, goals and concerns? If you were to ask an Australian if climate change was real, chances are they would say yes (3 in 4 of us, in fact, according to a CSIRO survey). So where are the policy changes? Given our beliefs concerning climate change mirror the international average, why is Australia lagging behind in terms of climate action and CO2 reduction?

australians-and-climate-change
Leviston, Z., Greenhill, M., & Walker, I. (2015) Australians attitudes to climate change and adaptation: 2010-2014. CSIRO, Australia.

It seems governments will only fix the ‘squeaky wheel’, and without voters becoming engaged in the democratic process at local, state and national levels, our Ministers will continue to, literally, bring coal into Parliament.

Climate change is a global and increasing threat. This said, it is hardly the ‘be all and end all’ of environmental issues. Humans are the greatest ecological force on earth and for centuries, and with increasing enthusiasm, we have changed the morphology and geology of the landscape, shaped hydrological systems to our design, and spread vast numbers of pests and pollutants around the globe. Many scientists now believe we are in an entirely different geological epoch all together, moving away from the comfortable and stable Holocene – which nurtured our species development – to the unpredictable Anthropocene, an era defined by humans. I think society is still very far from fully understanding the destruction this represents, and the danger it poses.

anthropocene
Credit: www.anthropocene.info

I hope to fill these gaps in public knowledge, to incite concern and engagement, to fire up and mobilise people to take control, and bring to the fore those ecological issues which will affect us all. I also aim to provide you with recent thoughts and developments in science and the environment, and ways in which we can all lighten our footprint. Are you ready? Are you up to the challenge? You need to be.

Stay tuned for my next post, looking at micro-plastics and what they mean for you and me…

 “It’s not worth throwing away plastic bags. You should just season them well and eat them directly because they’re going to end up back on your plate in one way or another.”  -Marine Scientist

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