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Why we should March for Science

By Ali and Jess

Five reasons YOU should March for Science TOMORROW:

  1. You believe that government decisions should be guided by facts and evidence. March for Informed Public Policy!
  2. To say no to restrictions being placed on scientists communicating their research, as we are currently seeing in the U.S. Show your support for Open Communication of Knowledge!
  3. For Stable Science Investment, for security in our future jobs!
  4. For a science informed future and a well-informed community. We need kids to learn and love science, they are the future! We need Universal STEM Literacy!
  5. Finally, science is our tool to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems; it is worth marching for!

Continue reading “Why we should March for Science”

Two steps forward, one step back

Minister Tony Burke and member of the Opposition
Caption by Kelly, photo courtesy of abc.net.au

By Kelly

Last week the Australian government announced a bold plan to expand its Australia’s Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) beyond what was stipulated in the highly criticised draft proposal released for consultation last year. This step forward would make the network of MPA’s the largest in the world. The announcement coincided with the lead up to the United Nation’s Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio this week with the Environment Minister stating: “It’s time for the world to turn a corner on protection of our oceans, and Australia today is leading that next step “.

Here, here! says the marine scientist who becomes quiet disheartened with endless commentary on exploitation, pollution, fisheries collapse and the ineffectiveness of small MPA’s.  A study discussed in Nature revealed that prior to this announcement Australia ranked 19th(!) in terms of reaching the 10% target for Marine Protected Areas under the Convention on Biological Diversity. For a nation that considers our oceans part of our national identity we should hang our head in shame. However, if the new plan comes to fruition then this will see us rank 7th. No small feat if you consider that Australia has jurisdiction over 9 million square kilometres and already protects significantly more marine real estate than most other nations even rule over.

Why do I say “if” and “would”, well in a step back the Opposition has vetoed our minister from attending Rio +20. Rather than being able to demonstrate leadership on the issue, and to lobby other nations to follow suit, the Opposition are demanding that the minister stay in Australia and explain the minutia of his marine parks plan. Australia, go back to hanging your head in shame.

For a more in depth report go to ABC Online or for commentary from the ANU delegation (that is in Rio as I type)  follow this link, or go the blog roll.

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