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!