Environment Institute members Corey Bradshaw and Barry Brook were part of a hand-picked group of 27 academic experts and science writers from across Australia who contributed to a very interesting publication released late last year by the Chief Scientist of Australia.
The book, available for download as a pdf or to e-readers is entitled “The Curious Country“. This collection of essays is the result of asking Australians directly what were the important issues that they wanted science to address.
What were their concerns about science? What inspires them? 1186 Australians were surveyed, men and women ages 18 to 65, from all education levels and locations around Australia. Climate along with heath issues topped the list for 30% and 32% of Australians, respectively. Pollution and water were the environmental issues of greatest concern.
The book is designed to bridge the gap between heavy scientific papers for specialists, and those wanting more accurate, up-to-date information about science than what currently filters through the mainstream media.
There is no need to read the book from start to finish. Flip and flick until you find a story that piques your curiosity. Perhaps there is some scientific phenomena that you always wondered about, but haven’t yet come across a reliable and accessible source.
Barry Brook explains in his contribution Powering the Future that Australia must use science and technology innovations to move away from a dependence on coal and seek lower carbon alternatives. Brook notes that: “Australia has been a world leader in the development of lower-cost and more-efficient crystalline solar photovoltaics” and support for this type of research should continue. Along with this, he urges Australia to embrace the exploration of new frontiers such as engaging in multi-lateral collaborations- he uses the large hadron collider project as an example.
In Biowealth: all creatures great and small, Corey Bradshaw explains how all people depend on absolutely every other species for their own survival. Take for example the very air we breathe every day, which is provided to us free of charge by other species, mostly plants and marine algae. Biodiversity is extremely important to the human race, and yet it is being lost at an alarming rate. Corey discusses his involvement in the project on his own blog ConservationBytes.com.