Posted by: graemelaidlaw | April 13, 2010

sustainability metrics

our lectures this week were about producing metrics and numbers that can be used to put across the messages about sustainability and climate change.  There are a few points that stuck out in particular, the first is that it seems incredibly difficult to produce in any way meaningful figures relating to something as complex as climate change, but somewhat easier to pick them apart and create mistrust in them.  I think this is often because scientific reports are so condensed for public consumption, to have a ‘take home message’ , that the nuances are completely lost.  But is it the scientists job to explain things in an easily consumable way, or to present the complex results as they are?  Unfortunately it seems that the climate change deniers are winning the argument at this moment. 

The second point that was raised was just how unqualified most of our politicians would not have the time to read a full scientific report, or able to understand it.  A 400 page report being reduced to a 2 page summary for a government minister, and we wonder why the public at large have not been persuaded.

The final point was about the aggregation of information, that detail produced on a local level are lost when this is included in a report on national or international level.  I can’t help feeling that when reports are consumed in such summarised version by policy makers, as mentioned above, that the micro-level, from which everything derives, is overlooked.  Policy would perhaps be better if it was implemented from the ground up rather than from the roof down. 

Prozac should definately be distrubuted freely before every sd lecture to take the edge off the general ‘we’re all doomed’ message that is being put across about the environment, climate change, government, energy use, the food chain, over manufacturing of goods and problems with disposal, the fact the media lie to us, etc etc etc


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