An exciting new theme is beginning to emerge in our post expenses scandal world (UK). David Cameron announced today a number of wide sweeping proposals for giving us, the people more power. This is on top of what I perceive as a growing demand for greater community involvement in the fight against climate change.
Tariq Tahir writes in The Guardian 19th May 2009 about the need to engage society more proactively in the process and about the need for research monies to be put into the social side of research. In a nut shell he is saying that it is all very well developing new technologies, but if no one can or wants to use them , then what’s the point.
Prof Paul Wellings, chairman elect of the 1994 research committee says argues that it is not enough to simply rely on science and technology to come up with the answers we need. Looking at individuals’ behaviour and getting them to change is as important as new technology.
Sarah Curtis at Durham University goes on to say that ‘ I would argue that what’s important to people and how they tackle problems is not just down to individual characteristics but also to the social circumstances they are in’. She goes onto to call for a national debate between technical and social scientists.
Diane Berry at Reading University echoes this argument saying that ‘ success in markets, which many people might assume to be dominated by technological advances, depends just as much on factors such as design, economics, branding and consumer understanding. Similarly, effectively tackling some of the most significant health and environmental challenges will depend just as much on changing people’s behaviour as on advances in medicine, physics or chemistry’.
For me, these comments go to the heart of where the debate and action now needs to take place – Within Our Communities.
Let the debate begin and David, give us the power to act!