I’m sitting in my office in suburban Adelaide participating in Sydney’s The Big Science Communication Summit.
Thank-you twitter and live-streaming, the saviours of many home-based workers!
Today at the Summit, Kristin Alford asked:
What does science communication look like if it’s successful?
What’s the outcome?
Here are my thoughts.
When science communication is successful, I will see changes in me and in the people around me.
- We will be free, willing and capable of applying evidence to inform decision-making.
- We will take the time to think through our actions relating to health, food and lifestyle.
- We will deliberately chose schools and jobs that are close to our homes because we will know the value of walking for our health, and the impacts on pollution of minimising use of vehicles.
- We will all have backyard productive gardens because we will know the benefits to our mental health from being outside, and the nutritional and health benefits of eating mostly vegetables and fruits.
- Of the food we buy, we will chose to spend $8 on a single loaf of good quality bread instead of $2 on a packet of manufactured jam biscuits because we have the knowledge to make an informed assessment of the nutritional benefits of each.
- We will try our darndest to deliver our children in safe environments with minimal surgical interventions and then breastfeed them whenever possible, because together these encourage the establishment of bodily microbiomes which support their good health into the future.
- We will vaccinate our children against diseases because we understand how to conduct a balanced assessment of risk versus benefit.
- We will listen to sprukers trying to sell us all manner of health-related and other products whose efficacy has not been proven and decide they do not deserve our money.
- We will not be afraid to listen to and embrace but also argue with scientists when they publish their results. We will be able to conduct a limited but informed critical analysis of what they have done, why and how. We will appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of different experimental approaches.
As I put this list together, I’m struck by the how ‘First World’ it is. In light of that my final thought is
- We will see communities around the world also free and able to embrace science as a way to generate knowledge which can inform peoples’ lives.