The gushing oil is reinforcing the very notion that science is out of touch with environmental needs.

As a scientist watching and reading about the April 20 oil spill, I am deeply troubled by shocking gaps in scientific knowledge  that have come to light as the search for solutions marches on. Where was science when the world needed it? Beneath the glaring lapses in government regulation, corporate greed, complacency with drilling technologies, and inadequate solutions for mitigating the adverse effects of oil spills, one troubling issue emerges.

Why have we been so complacent as a community to scientific solutions to urgent human and environmental needs?

A recent Chemical & Engineering News Cover Story sheds light on this issue with a deeply reflective article on the regulatory and science gaps brought to light by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Looking forward, one key point is that deep ocean science is in its infancy.  Thus more biologists, physicists, chemists and engineers are needed to understand the impact of human activity on the deep ocean ecosystem.  While we hope that there will be federal funding for such efforts, will it be enough? When the next disaster strikes, will the science we have all been doing allow the scientific community to respond in a manner that illustrates the power and relevance of scientific research for protecting and sustaining all living things?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Feel free to comment on our blog.  If you would like to write a guest article, feel free to let us know.  We look forward to the on-going conversation!

 

One Response to Gushing Oil In The Gulf — Is Science Out of Touch?

  1. Ed says:

    Yvonne:

    I agree with you that a lack of knowledge is contributing to this ecological disaster, as evidenced by the lack of preparedness for such an event. I am disappointed that BP and our government have not accepted offers from other countries to help solve the problem, which stifles innovation. If anything good can come of this, it should be that a body of knowledge will be created and shared to avoid the mistakes being made in the event such an event should recur. Since our ecology is global, any such information should be shared without cost. The other potential opportunity is to convince our youth that they can build fulfilling careers serving mankind, by ensuring our planet will be able to sustain future generations. This is where science teaching comes in but it should be connected to real world problems and go beyond memorizing drawings of body parts, solving physics/algebra problems and mixing materials in a chemistry laboratory.

    Ed

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