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Author: Eleonor Bauwens (Page 1 of 2)

Science and Democracy

Science has the potential to be governed by experts because the drive and interests of the experts running studies governs what is studied. However, this drive is also linked to funding and money because without funds studies and research cannot take place. Thus, thinking of science in the context of government is necessary because a lot of science is funded by the government or by major organizations. The government will fund research on studies on topics that the government is interested in. For example, getting a man on the moon in the race to the moon against Russia. This research was governed by the politics between the United States and Russia. As a result, it is inevitable that science is ruled by who has money which means science is run by military, government and corporate interests.

Science for the People seeks to tackle the militarization of scientific research, the corporate control of research agendas, the political implications of sociobiology and other scientific theories, the environmental consequences of energy policy, inequalities in health care, and many other issues. I agree with Science for the People because it is dangerous to have science completely ruled by the government and major corporations. Science informs policy and major changes so it is dangerous to have the power of science controlled by “the big guys”. There are many fundamental issues in these organizations such as systemic racism, sexism and classism and it is inevitable that these ideologies will guide where funding for science is placed and thus the direction of science. Therefore I agree with the push to separate science from major organizations and the government to give more power to the people to decide what is being studied.

Research Proposal The intersection of Culture and Science

Question: How does the intersection of cultures and science affect ocean conservation?

Thesis: As ocean conservation becomes a worldwide mission, the approach scientists and politicians take to research and implement laws policies is dependent upon an in-depth understanding of the cultures they are interacting with.

For my research project this semester I am interested in looking into how ocean conservation movements are positively or negatively influenced by the culture of the place they are in and vice versa. I plan on looking at specific conservation movements in different areas around the world: the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean and the Northern Atlantic. My research will look into specific movements affect the culture of the area they are in and how scientists and policy makers address cultural differences, if they do at all.

Tentative Outline:

I. Introduction: Shark conservation movements around the world, focusing on three different geographic areas: Caribbean, Pacific, Northern Atlantic.

II. Body

  1. Caribbean
    • Culture & industry of coral reefs
      • The coral reef industry is endangered by bleaching and disease epidemics.
      • However, the tourism is by far the biggest industry of the Caribbean –> “Sea, Sun & Sand” are heavily advertised by travel companies and resorts in the Caribbean.
      • The tourism industry of the Caribbean is worth billions of dollars, while environmental movements to protect coral reefs will help coral reef survival they are likely to place limitations on the tourism industry. Specifically, the reef diving industry which will have a direct impact on the tourism industry.
  2. Pacific
    • Culture of finning in Asia
      • Shark meat in most commercial fisheries is considered to be low value
      • Fins are worth a lot in the Asian soup market
      • Fisherman practice “finning” where they catch the shark, cut off the fin and throw the shark back into the sea, often times still alive, and left to die.
    • Cultural Significance of sharks in Hawaii
      • Sharks have been held in high reverence by generations of Hawaiians as aumakua (family guardians)—ancestors reincarnated as animals and sent to protect family members.
      • Sharks in Hawaiian culture are also used for food and material resources. For example, shark teeth are used to make weapons or shark skin is used to make the head of a drum.
  3. Northern Atlantic
    • Fishing Industry in the North Atlantic
      • Communities stretching along the coast of New England states of the United States and in Canada’s Atlantic provinces are dependent upon the fishing industry for their survival.
      • The fishing industry in New England is a multi billion dollar industry that provides a living for people and families all along the coast.
    • Overfishing and by-catch
      • New technologies have been introduced to  address issues of by-catch. Fishing methods are also very harmful to marine environments.
      • By-catch of protected species is especially problematic.
      • Organizations such as NOAA have been addressing by-catch –> National Bycatch Reduction Strategy
      • How did the Marine Mammal Protection Act affect fishing culture, specifically in New England? Has it been effective in reducing by-catch and protecting marine mammals?

III. Conclusion

Sources:

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/sharks/shark-conservation/

https://www.hawaiimagazine.com/content/cultural-significance-sharks-hawaii

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/research-highlight-agriculture-and-fishing-cause-coral-reef-decline

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969699710001195

https://cmast.ncsu.edu/cmast-sites/synergy/coral/chist.html

https://www.americasquarterly.org/node/1532

https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/bycatch

https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/bycatch#conservation-&-management

Blog Post 5

Charles Darwin is famous for his work on the theory or evolution where he hypothesized that all living things on earth come from one common ancestor. His theory contradicted with the strict ideals of the Catholic Church. During the 19th century the Catholic Church dominated society. Darwin’s theory challenged the Church and the belief that God was the creator of all things. This could be the reason why it took Darwin twenty years to publish his theory of evolution. Because his theory went head to head with the Church, publishing his book was a major risk in terms of public criticism.

Darwin, with his theory of evolution played a major in the shift from a society who’s beliefs were all based on religion. Darwin was the first to challenge the church with theories back by science and evidence. His theory of natural selection and evolution was thus a catalyst for major societal and political changes. His work played a huge role in shifting society to the society we know today.

Despite being widely respected and talked about today Darwin’s theories took a long time to take hold in society. It took him over 20 years to publish his theories and the presence of the Catholic church was a major road block for his theories. This type of struggle remains true today. Revolutionary theories and ideas take a long time to grow and prosper. For example, theories of climate change have been around since the 19th century yet there is still pushback against these ideas by climate change believers. Darwin’s theories revolutionized the way people thought about their origins for thousands of years yet his theories are still talked about today. I think this serves as a reason for revolutionary thinkers to not be afraid to speak up and share their thoughts because their ideas have the potential to have a lasting impact on society.

The dangers of technology

In her novel “Frankenstein”, Mary Shelley tells the story of the terrible consequences of a science experiment gone wrong. Her story explores the power science and technology has while also shedding light on the dangers of new creations and developments. Through her tale of Victor Frankenstein Shelley expresses the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and not being afraid to admit one’s own mistakes.  Continue reading

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