This month, experts will converge in South Africa and Canada for two international conferences on the environment: the World Parks Congress and the World Forestry Congress, respectively.
In this article, David Suzuki, professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, argues that recommendations from such conferences — laudable though their goals may be — are too easily ignored.
Suzuki says that while scientists are knowledgeable about how to solve environmental problems, they lack the authority of politicians — who are rarely in power long enough to experience the results of their actions.
He concludes that only the public has the power to hold politicians accountable, and so scientists should go beyond their narrow roles as experts to become leaders who go public with their concerns. This is the only way to ensure that those with the authority to carry out conservation plans are held accountable for their actions.
Reference: Science 301, 1289 (2003)