08 June 2009

Scientists need artists

Randy Olson’s incoming book Don’t Be Such a Scientist delivers the message that "scientists need artists".

What kind of artists?

I would dare to say: people like Chris Jordan, with his mandala-mind devoted to raising environmental awareness.

Filmmakers like Yann Arthus-Bertrand, who can really make us wow and appreciate what we have and what we are losing.

Communicators like Annie Leonard, who can turn exceedingly complex scenarios into simple and understandable stories.

Thinkers like David Orr, who tackle the heart of the problem and propose real solutions rather than palliatives.

These are the bright minds and voices that our planet desperately needs, and that conservation biologists need, too, if they are to convey any message that is actually heard.

Giovanni Bearzi

Photo by Chris Jordan

1 comment:

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara said...

I don't think that it is scientists who need artists to do conservation. It is slightly different. Conservation is a complex task that requires now a multidisciplinary approach. Scientists are one of the components, an essential one (because you need authoritative opinion and data about the status of things), but not necessarily the driving force of conservation. I would see an advocacy component of society (e.g. an NGO or an NGO coalition) as more fit to take the role of driver. We are currently debating this amongst us because we are scientists and at the moment it is us who is driving this process, however I think that scientists should be just part of it. Also, governments cannot be part of the process yet. Rather, they should be the targets of this action, so that policy is then affected to bring about the needed human behavioural change.