Author Topic: Climate change: What more can science organizations do?  (Read 10406 times)

florlaca

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Climate change: What more can science organizations do?
« on: March 11, 2012, 11:45:43 PM »
Climate change: What more can science organizations do?
By Dr. Flor Lacanilao

From global terrorism and the spread of disease to the dangers of global warming, we are increasingly facing the sorts of threats for which governments everywhere will need to turn to their scientists.—“The scientific impact of nations,” Nature, 15 July 2004

Perhaps no other problem in this century threatens us more, in magnitude of destruction and death, than climate change. From the impacts of climate change alone—e.g., typhoons, floods, landslides—we have seen manifestations of their increasing frequency and damage, with the government still unprepared. And to think that yet to come are its impacts on food production systems (agriculture and fisheries), communicable diseases, displacement, migration, etc. Our underdevelopment, persistent poverty, and archipelagic conditions make the Philippines even more vulnerable.

The scientists referred to are the researchers—in natural and social sciences, engineering, technology, and math—who produce information, which can be useful information in the form of knowledge if research is done properly; hence, the importance of doing research properly (see Fig. 1 in a talk of mine on “Doing research for development”).

In addition to producing information/knowledge, scientists also have the social responsibility to disseminate useful information (through community service), and to use it for development programs, education, policy-making, etc. Together with research, they are what we call R&D (Fig. 2 in “Doing research for development”).

An important role of science organizations is promoting R&D. Consider research first. In their annual scientific meetings or conferences, most of our science organizations are unaware that study results are presented for two reasons: (1) to inform the audience, and (2) to invite respected scientists in the audience to comment on the presented paper (preliminary peer review).

Comments improve the manuscript before submission to a chosen primary journal. This crucial step—submitting research manuscript to peer-reviewed international journal—ensures proper publication. Such journals have two important features: adequate peer review of the manuscript and wide accessibility for peer verification of published results.

Otherwise, research is not completed; or, if published elsewhere—e.g., conference proceedings, Philippine journals, institutional reports, or newsletters—and are not adequately peer reviewed, the research output is just gray literature (as seen in Fig.1). This is the kind of research paper that’s largely published in the country (see my paper on “Continuing problems with gray literature”).

Science or professional organizations also have an important role in disseminating and using scientific information, the second part of R&D or development phase (seen in Fig.2). An example is promoting public understanding of science or of climate change.  Program success will be easier the better the research track record of the organization’s membership; that is, whether the majority of the members are properly published.       

Recently, concerned members of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) launched an “information caravan” on climate change to deliver relevant scientific information to local government units. Among our top scientists in the group are Helen Yap of UP Diliman Marine Science Institute and Jurgenne Primavera of SEAFDEC in Iloilo. (Rina Jimenez-David reported on this in “A compact for growth” in the March 7, 2012 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.)
 
My only concern is that in many group activities in the country, a common practice is making group decision by majority rule to settle opposing views (“Democratic governance impedes academic reform”).

A likely problem arises on how to agree with research and science issues, when the properly published scientists in the group are a minority. But confronted with the increasing threats of devastation from changing climate, I think it is possible for such a group discussing such issues to come to a useful conclusion—and ensure program success. I trust Jurgenne, Helen, and the rest of TOWNS will see this through. And show the government leaders and media people the need to turn to scientists when dealing with important national problems. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Flor Lacanilao obtained both his BS and MS in Zoology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman and his PhD, with specialization in comparative endocrinology, from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as professor and chairman of the Zoology Department at UP Diliman and chancellor of UP Visayas. He made pioneering discoveries in neuroendocrinology and led the research group that achieved the first spontaneous breeding of milkfish in captivity.


 
   
 

anngabby

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Re: Climate change: What more can science organizations do?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 09:28:13 PM »
It is very nice blog post.

cateespimsleur

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Re: Climate change: What more can science organizations do?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 02:58:38 AM »
This is one of the most crucial problems that is affecting the modern civilisation. People have to really think out of the box to find the solution.

tracy01

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Re: Climate change: What more can science organizations do?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 12:19:31 PM »
I agree with you cateespimsleur . Specially the word " People have to really think out of the box to find the solution." .

Splash12

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Re: Climate change: What more can science organizations do?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2012, 02:40:20 PM »
we should engage in this issue seriously. Scientist must do percussion for Global warming, for rich people they will not suffer easily. Poor people suffer a lot. large companies, non degradable substances, more over population is another main fact behind this...

Pls excuse me for my English.
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
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romnickhudges

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Re: Climate change: What more can science organizations do?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 12:31:15 PM »
Well, climate change affects us and no one can really avoid it. However, we can prevent losing our planet by doing some necessary action like be mindful enough with out environment. The caused of climate change is the abusive behavior of most people who are indeed selfish. Remember, that whatever we do there is always a karma so as early as now we should learn how to be discipline people in so many ways whether it's for ourselves and for our mother nature. Let the next generation see the beauty of earth planet.