Politicising Science?!

Politics and science tend to be thought of as opposing terms. While in natural science there is no doubt the acceleration due to gravity is approximately 9.81 or that two hydrogen and one oxygen atom make a water molecule, in politics what is a fact may depend on who you ask. But science has not…

Integrating traditional knowledge to Adaptive Management

Increasing awareness of the long-reaching and intricate impacts of environmental issues has resulted in a dynamic challenge for environmental decision making systems.  Adaptive Management has emerged as an avenue for natural resource management that accepts there are gaps in the knowledge of these systems, but enacts a constant feedback mechanism. Illustrated in figure 1, this learning and…

Quantitative vs Qualitative Decision Making

When is it better to do quantitative or qualitative research? The answer to such question depends on what we want to achieve of course. A quantitative analysis can provide numbers, comparative and generalisable data. On the other hand, a quantitative analysis can provide deep understanding of contexts, perspectives and motivations. For us it is important…

Climate Change: The worst case scenario

Scenario building is a unique tool for looking ahead. While most other mechanisms for planning ahead are based on extrapolating current trends or using scientific data, scenario building has the characteristic of involving imagination as well, making it a powerful but ambiguous tool. Scenarios deal with what is possible rather with what is probable (Mahmoud…

Environmental Certification as a Tool for Scoping Options

Environmental decisions are naturally complex. They involve a multitude of stakeholders, complex systems, goals, risks, etc. Most people may see themselves distant from making environmental decisions, not to mention using environmental tools such as GIS or Climate Models. However, certification is an inclusive tool that provides everyone with the power of comparing their options and choosing…

Indigenous people, the masters of sustainability

Indigenous people everywhere have had a long and prosperous relation with the environment for far longer than any other group of people in different areas. It is well known that their intimate relation with their local environment has lead them to successfully preserve and even enhance biodiversity (Gadgil et al, 1993), something modern science has been…

Public Participation: How representative are the participants of the public?

Monday’s lecture on public participation got me thinking about cases in which I would have wanted to have a say in environmental decisions, but was never asked. At least in Chile, where I come from, members of the public rarely have an opportunity to participate in environmental decisions, its always the experts, the politicians and…

The Dynamic Economic Framework: From consumers to citizens

The word frame has a strong connotation of immobility to it. Truth is, frameworks are much more dynamic than what the word suggests and one of the most consolidated frames in the world since the 19th century is being shaken by environmental pressures. We are talking about Neoliberal Economy, the frame that has seen humans develop…