Professor Richard Thompson OBE FRS, Director of the Marine Institute and Professor Eduardo Miranda, Head of Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR)
We all know Earth is facing a series of environmental crises. Rising temperatures. Increased extreme storms. Species under threat. Plastic in our oceans. The list goes on and on; a tsunami of bad news that we can’t, and obviously shouldn’t, avoid. But as a society do we understand it all? Do we find it all too complicated? And do we simply choose to leave it to those who ‘do the science’?
On a daily basis, as a global community, we are told we must act. It is everybody’s responsibility and we must change our cultures and behaviours. And we need to explore every avenue available to us in order to do so. But is the science just one step too far for many?
For natural and physical scientists, it has in the past been all too easy to carry out a piece of research without looking at the bigger picture. Some academics devote years to projects or pieces of work, without fully considering how to communicate them. But we are all now being asked to look beyond traditional finish lines, and explore methods of science communication through collaboration. And rightly so.
Presenting our findings in a creative way can open them up to whole new audiences. As a result, our messages have the potential to reach far beyond academia and into the public arena where they can have the greatest impact. If we want everyone to not only understand but act, we need to cut through the noise of information overload in daily lives and capture their attention.
At the University of Plymouth, we have long appreciated the benefits of uniting experts from across the disciplines in this way. Physics and photography. Politics and poetry. Environmental science and psychology. And take us, the authors of this piece, a marine biologist and a musician/composer.
At first, building such relationships may not be easy. But taking a solutions focussed whole-system approach yields countless benefits.