Scientists need work on communication

SCIENTISTS need to start communicating directly with the community on issues such as climate change and ocean acidification, a conference at Southern Cross University has been told.

In a keynote address to the university's Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges conference, Professor Brendan Mackey, of the Australian National University, said the good work being done by scientists in areas such as climate change, biodiversity loss and atmospheric pollution was being lost in public debate.

“You see that with the climate change debate,” he said. “A lot of that is not well informed.”

Part of the problem was that the scientists doing the work verifying and tracking climate change, and coming up with solutions to it, were not the people in the public spotlight talking about the issue.

Prof Mackey said universities needed to take a bigger role in talking about science, as did organisations such as the Academy of Science.

Southern Cross University Professor Jerry Vanclay, whose school of environmental science and management hosted the conference, said it was aimed at bringing a mix of disciplines into the discussion from inside and outside academia.

Among others in the 80 people at the conference were the Department of Defence, Lismore City Council, Brisbane City Council and the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists.