Science and Society: Symbiotic or Askew?

Dork Sahagian
Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Environmental Initiative
• In a long-term symbiosis, science has provided social 
systems with the knowledge required for development and security, while society ensured that the scientific community had the resources and support needed to function most effectively.
• 20th century scientists were viewed like “industrialists,” working to exploit natural resources for growing economies. In the 21st century, however, society is increasingly treating scientists as “physicians,” to find ways to repair damage caused by over exploitation of the very resources that 
enabled rapid economic development.
• In effect, we were “living off the interest” that the stock within the global ecosystem provides, but are now rapidly “eating into the principal” thus reducing the “interest,” just when we need to increase it due to the burgeoning human population’s demand for energy, food, and material goods.
• The way forward necessarily involves a scientific community that understands and works within the value system of the society that depends on it, and upon which it depends.



Speaker / Presenter: 

Professor Dork Sahagian
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 4:00am