Does science need a moral compass? The role of community.
The industrial revolution began the western world’s dependency on science to explain the world around them, to produce solutions to problems, to improve living conditions and accelerate innovations. Despite the many advances in science the wellbeing of people across the globe is very patchy, the sustainability of natural systems as a whole is under threat.
The pursuit of scientific knowledge is important but needs to be steered for community benefit and environmental outcomes. The challenges we face as a society will not be solved by better science alone. Science is only one form of knowledge and more positive when combined with technical knowledge and, most importantly, moral judgement. Keith Roby was a strong advocate for citizen science - the engagement of community in setting community vision, helping in the formulation of questions that science can assist in answering, the gathering of data for primary research and using information to take positive action for a sustainable world for all. The setting of positive visions and development of action pathways based on good information shared across the community generates hope in the future and motivation for change. This approach requires integration of science an additional challenge where research can be both competitive and conducted in isolation. This talk will look at a range of examples including the Denmark Walpole Green Town Project, Watershed Torbay, and Gondwana Link where the citizen science approach has resulted in positive changes for communities and the environment.
Dr Louise Duxbury is a community change facilitator and graduate of Murdoch University. She has 40 years of experience facilitating the development of community and project visions, providing leadership training, initiating community and environmental projects and implementing them. She established Green Skills in 1989 and was awarded the Great Southern Development Commission Medal for Excellent in NRM in 2006 for Green Skills contribution to the region. She currently divides her time as Green Skills senior project manager and co executive officer for the WA Landcare Network while serving as a Director on the Boards of Gondwana Link Ltd and Deco Living Ltd, as a member of the National Landcare Network Members Council and as a Commissioner for the Forest Products Commission. She walks her sustainability talk living on a long-standing multiple occupancy community, the Wolery, near Denmark on the south coast of WA.