‘US STEM students least likely to vote.’ Could this be true!

By Robyn Williams on the ABC RN’s Science Show. His guest is Melissa Varga.

Download US STEM students least likely to vote (8.42 MB)

Melissa Varga. Trainer for the Union of Concerned Scientists

Tufts University surveys university students across the US and reports STEM students least likely of any subject group to vote. In 2016, the humanities turnout was 53%. The STEM turnout was 43%. The Union of Concerned Scientists provides students with voter registration information and trains scientists for involvement in policy and advocacy.

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Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. 6m 7s. Broadcast: Sat 29 Feb 2020, 12:53pm

In Australia the national curriculum, set up by the 2015 review, separated STEM from HASS. As a teacher, well aware of the value of cross disciplinary engagement, I abhor that separation. But, at least, we have compulsory voting. Voters must turn up. We are citizens of this nation. Voluntary voting in USA appears to allow citizens to abdicate. At least here they must turn up.

STEM students – future scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians – ignoring the humanities! USA has had an Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1780! They must realise what governments are capable of. We need STEAM – for young people’s future.

Thought ‘too wet to burn’

Listen to Australia’s Science Show, ABC RN  February 22nd 2020.

 Some trees were over 1.000 years old. The intensity of the fires destroyed them.

The story of Terania Creek.

Saved by protesters in 1979 when loggers wanted entry. So many burnt now. BUT in NSW in 2019 legislation, protesters who dare to try to protect the environment, to protect the trees and what we have left are to be penalised, fined. It appears, despite the fires, this government would rather pollute than protect. We have to ask whose interests they are promoting.

In 2020, in NSW developers are to be allowed in without checking the impact on the quality of the environment. They don’t have to do a count to check the impact on the koala population. It’s the NSW Liberal government backed by Shooters, Hunters and Fishers. Now in power!!! BUT other States are doing the same thing. In Queensland protesters against the Adani coal mine were put in gaol without bail! I question the direction Australia is taking. Towards USA? Or towards the EU? Which approach to the environment and the future are we taking? Always the ABC RN’s Science Show makes us think about where we are going. [See also the interview with Jared Diamond about his new book, Upheaval in the February 22nd 2020 program.]

Terania Creek 1979 and 2019

Image : Darcy Grant


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11m 52s

Download Terania Creek – saved in 1979, ravaged by fire in 2019 (16.31 MB)

Download 16.31 MB

Many people have been celebrating as 2019 marks forty years since the climax of protests to save the rainforests of northern NSW from clear-felling by foresters. It was the first environmental protest in Australia and led to protests which saved Tasmania’s Franklin River and other areas. But there is a sadness, as the area was not spared by the fires which have burnt so much land in eastern Australia. Sue Higginson, now an environmental lawyer was 19 when she protested to save the forests of Terania Creek. She reflects on what was achieved. ABC reporter Leah White reports on recent changes to laws which lessen environmental protection aid developers and threaten protesters and now, what has been lost by fire, and Scott Stephens, a contributor to the ABC RN’s ‘Minefield’ asks why we mourn the loss of animals, but not trees. He asks why our concern for people, fauna and not flora when, without the flora and the fungi, we are nowhere. How short-sighted are we? Will we learn? It will show in the way we vote. This is also a podcast for listeners.

In a previous blog, I focused on The Songs of Trees: Nature’s Great Connectors by David George Haskell. Look at it. And read Overstory by Richard Powers, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize.

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