By Ruby Pap
This is my first dispatch in For Kauaʻi. I am thrilled about this opportunity to talk about science and other information applicable to our beautiful coastline, mauka to makai.
Did you ever try to read a scientific study, or talk to a scientist, and interpret it for how this might apply to you or your community? Well, I spend a good deal of my time doing just that.
As a Coastal Land Use Extension Agent for the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program, my task is to bring scientific information to the community to help improve understanding and stewardship of coastal and marine resources.
Translating science for policy and community understanding is not an easy task. While I do have an environmental science background, I’ve mainly been working in the coastal planning and policy field for the last decade. However, it turns out that not being engrossed in hard corps scientific investigation actually lends a hand in translating it for all to use.
In other words, if someone like me can understand it, there’s a pretty good chance we can all have a good conversation about it.
My aim through this column is to perhaps show you something you haven’t seen, provide scientific perspectives that may not already be in the community discourse and hopefully help to make important data accessible to all.
Every now and then a science article may have a catchy headline, a bit of information and some interesting quotes. But quite often, I find myself looking for additional information, some avenue to look up at scientific data so I can have my own judgment.
To be sure, I’m not interested in criticizing the popular media – I will never be Jon Stewart. What I do hope to do is present some science in a way that is empowering to the reader.
We at Sea Grant strive to be “neutral purveyors of information.” Some may find this boring. Others of you may find it refreshing. With that latter group in mind, I will use this column to bring some interesting science, some perspectives on how it could be interpreted or used and ways the community can learn more or get involved.
So, a preview for my next column: Sea level rise. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report was recently released (http://www.ipcc.ch/) with updated information on global warming and impacts such as sea level rise.
It’s a scary topic, but we are not helpless! There are ways we can inform ourselves as a community and begin to adapt to changes. Stay tuned.
- Ruby Pap is a Coastal Land Use Extension Agent at University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org