I’m a scientist, specifically, an Earth Scientist. I have 2 degrees in Geology and am a member or fellow of various geological and geographical bodies. During my career, I have worked on every continent, and visited many areas closed to the public. I have watched mankind venture forth into areas that have been untouched for decades, centuries or millenniums – seen mankind change the area, and then seen the area be reclaimed by nature once again when mankind leaves.
I pass through cities all the time, but for most of my working life, I have not been in an office – or enjoying the fruits of my labour in an air-conditioned house partly owned by me and partly owned by a bank. My office has been the great outdoors, and my bedroom has been a tent.
And yet despite seeing all this, I have a profound respect for how irrepressible nature is. The local environment may change as a result of our actions – or even just the actions of a predatory animal or plant moving another area – but nature is remarkably resilient, and always changing and adapting in response.
But it seems to me that many people in the developed countries and increasingly, in the developing countries, have this utopian vision that nature is utterly unchangeable – the environment as we knew it in 1950 or 1900 or 1800 was the best the world will ever be, and if we (for example) develop natural resources in some remote location, that will have a catastrophic impact on the environment around it (and actually, with the right precautions in place, it is usually minimal due to the vast amount of untouched nature surrounding the project) . Meanwhile, these very people who protest developments in remote areas, are oblivious to the very obvious damage being done by the growth of cities and human population and associated environmental issues (usually enormous and much more ‘permanent’).
This blog comes about as a result of reading articles that contain science in the popular media today. As the media continues to evolve ever shorter, snappier ways to deliver a message as our attention spans got fractured between so many sources to view news, the science has been all too often been ‘dumbed down’ and reduced to a sentence or two. Sadly, nothing in science can be summed up in a sentence or two. And absolutely nothing in science doesn’t have a cause and effect! There are 4 natural cycles on our planet: (1) the hydrosphere (everything to do with water), (2) atmosphere (the air we breath), the (3) lithosphere (the Earth we walk on) and (4) biology (the plants and animals). Change one thing in any one of those Cycles and it can have consequences in all the other Cycles.
People seem to want a simple answer to a very complex problem – and we have many complex problems in our world right now! But it is even more frustrating that people are being led down a utopian path where it appears our ‘unbiased governments’ will step in with their non-scientific training and solve the world problems by making sure their solutions are inline with the what the opinion polls say. So if we expect the government to solve the world’s problems by relying on opinion polls, the public needs to get educated pretty quickly and start questioning what the usually non-scientifically trained media is telling us – or as I tell people when they point to some very poor bit of science in the press – just question it!
How can you tell it’s a poor bit of science?Well, the article will be very slanted in one direction with no attempt made to present a balanced story. The science in the media isn’t always wrong. And there are journalists out there who do try to be a bit more balanced. Unfortunately, due to the sheer number of journalists with no scientific training reporting without getting out there in the field and actually experiencing science, they end up distorting the poor scientists work, the balanced stories get lost, or frustrated journalists who do have a greater understanding end up sounding equally and manically biased in the opposite direction as they try to explain why the science is bad.
I don’t profess to have the answer to everything, but I do want people to start asking the questions again. I have questions! I am frustrated that I ask questions and no one is working on finding answers. I am frustrated that research nowadays is largely geared to what the government or big corporations want funded. I am frustrated that if there is a research body decides to actually look at the questions, they are accused by the media of being biased – while government-funded stuff is deemed virtuous, unbiased and indisputable?! Let me start with a question for you now – if the government is funding something, are they also not seeking for scientific evidence to support a theory? That is every bit has as biased as an oil company, a food company or a pharmaceutical company funding something as well! Sometimes one side will come up with compelling evidence, sometimes, it is just a fragment of a much larger story.
So my goal is to start asking the questions via this blog, and with my knowledge and understanding of the science, you too will also begin to ask the questions. I’ll try to write my articles so that you can follow how I dug around to try and get a more balanced picture so you to will begin to know how to question it. Hopefully, as we all begin to just question it, we will all begin to gain a greater understanding on the problems present on the planet – and how more co-operative and diverse the solutions are going to have to be.
PS: No one is sponsoring me or this website! What you read is only what I think and have deduced from my background and what I have read on the subjects…