December 2014

A World Without Science?

Heading towards a new year, you would hope that our government would be thinking about Australia’s future by improving industry and trade, without causing significant damage to the environment.

 

Once, baking our bodies in the sun, lying in sunbeds and smoking cigarettes in pubs and clubs, was acceptable.

Now we realise, these are dangerous to our health, causing aging, cancer and sometimes an unpleasant death.

Either forward thinking or selfish, we started protecting ourselves, and each other, by condemning these habits.

So it would seem time to condemn what we do to the environment that affects its health and survival.

 

Coal mining, fracking, logging, and the expansion of large shipping lanes in the Great Barrier Reef, are dangerous to the sea, forests and land.

It seems our government is content to sell off every last natural resource that promises a profit, no matter what the consequences.

 

If it takes American President, Barack Obama, to voice his concerns at the 2014 G20 Summit, about the Australian Government’s lack of insight into climate change and the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, then what hope have we got.

 

Science helps us to take care of ourselves. Without science, we have no idea about the dangers of cigarettes, junk food or the sun. Without science, we are unable to cure diseases that threaten to cripple or eventually kill us.

Science is life and should be supported so we can manage our world carefully. But it seems science, with its honesty of hard facts, is an inconvenience to big business. The current government isn’t too happy with the restrictions science can put on business.

 

The Sydney Morning Herald reported an article written by the science editor of the Age, (‘Long -term effect of CSIRO on budget cuts’, December 21, 2014) that the Abbott government has cut $111 million from the CSIRO, which will result in an enormous number of researchers losing their jobs. But it doesn’t make front page news. Why?

 

Even a senior scientist, Dr Paul Fraser, head of research into oceans and atmosphere, honoured by NASA, isn’t safe from becoming redundant. Perhaps his establishing one of the worlds most important climate research centres in Tasmania has something to do with it.

 

The government is reducing funding to those who can deliver advice on climate change, advice on the health of the Great Barrier Reef, and advice on forests and ecosystems.

 

Hopefully we will become more rational and realize that we need to challenge our selfishness, and listen to the concerns of scientists about the effects of climate change, and what we can do to protect and nurture our world.

 

Harriet Jones