‘Sustainability. Who cares? Who doesn’t?‘ was my last blog. I keep asking the questions. Now I am asking this one provoked by this book by Nicole Masters, ‘For the Love of Soil‘. She is a New Zealander and New Zealand has committed to zero emissions by 2050. Her book picks up the work of fine farmers in Western Australia, New Zealand, Nevada in USA and in Canada. So many are not waiting for governments. They accept the science. They see the evidence and want to move forward. So Regenerative Agriculture is the title of my latest blog in Sciences-and-Humanities. I ask this question. Do we prefer this or ‘de-risking’ when governments take on building gas-fired power stations to please the gas industry and we, the citizens, will face the costs when they become, as they must, ‘stranded assets’, after they have done the damage to the land, the landscape and the future. So, do we want ‘Regenerative Agriculture’ or ‘De-risking’ so insurers do not feel they will lose money insuring gas-led power stations. I have changed the introduction to ‘The Necessity for Connections’. I am finding more reasons why we need them and, when I find them, encourage visitors to follow their cross-disciplinary connections. Do read the details about her book, saying who she has worked with and the hope it offers for the future. A hope not to be found in any toxic fossil fuels.
Each post since January 2019 deals with the problems of disconnection – separation of the sciences from the humanities, the desire of business to ignore or set out to undermine whatever might interfere with its profits and the role of the media in that.
In February 2020 I published two blogs. From USA that suggested that ‘US STEM students were the least likely to vote‘. In Australia ‘Thought too wet to burn.’ While I could not believe that first blog was true, the separation of the sciences from the humanities in that destructive idea of ‘two cultures’ makes it possible. We, the citizens, the voters, might be ‘the other’. Science might see itself above politics even though so much funding comes from governments! And, in a democracy, even one where gerrymanders and limitations on voting rights interfere, the basis on which one votes can have a good or terrible result. What gets in depends on us!
I posted ‘Wisdom and Warning’. We know we do not need to rely on toxic fuels for energy but fossil fuel industries and plastics industries would have us ignore the warnings.
In August I asked if we have ‘A Common Future‘? Australian researchers examined 142 nations and ‘crunched the numbers’ about the effectiveness of carbon pricing as a incentive to emissions reduction. A previous blog ‘Complexity and Stability’ challenged simplistic approaches. Every blog makes clear the value of multi-disciplinary engagement.
There is hope. Because there is knowledge of what we can do if, as nations, we so choose. From Los Angeles, what cleaning up emissions can do in terms of health and wealth. From Australia, what value-adding through lithium processing can offer for our future. But there is this warning. We are facing a climate emergency. Some countries now acknowledge the fact.
In democracies, we are forced to live with the governments we choose. We have powerful groups not interested in the future. Only their profits. My posts, month by month, tackle issues provoked by the absence of the sense of connection. These powerful groups – commercial, political, religious – prefer ignorance and obedience. We have made things worse by separating the sciences -STEM – from the humanities – HASS.
The damnable ‘two cultures’ divide has meant that we haven’t learnt from history or our mistakes. These negative narrow attitudes are still present. Too often in politicians. This article in the Higher Education section of The Australian, 23rd January 2019, was headed ‘The Sciences and the Humanities’. It was an interview of Professor Elanor Huntington by Sean Powell. She is the Dean of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University. “Elanor Huntington says she has a far-sighted vision for humanity’s future, and she wants to do her bit to ensure that humanists have a say in the way the world will be shaped. The false dichotomy that insists students should be either maths or humanities scholars with an inherent bent towards one or the other is the product of deeply ingrained and often gender-specific traditions no longer relevant to today’s world,” How right she is. In Australia, instead of learning from the results of the absence of connections, our federal government is going to make humanities degrees 113% more expensive. The United States of America has a very great Academy of the Arts and the Sciences. There should be no such STEM/HASS divide in USA. We make the future for the children. What will it be?