Power to the people

The case for citizen science

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  • Published 20210728
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-62-7
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IN AUSTRALIA, A purportedly equitable and participatory democracy, it is popular to believe that we all have the freedoms and rights to engage in the discussions that create our society. We all get to vote – if we are the right age. We can all write letters to politicians. We can demonstrate in the streets without fear. We can remonstrate with our employers about unfair work practices. We can run for parliament. We can access the credible knowledge we need to make life decisions. I enjoy all those privileges, and I consider them to be fundamental rights.

Freedom of speech is one right I hold very dearly. In a training exercise I attended at The Nature Conservancy, staff were asked to pick a right that they would hypothetically die for: I picked freedom of speech. (Interestingly, most people were not willing to make such a sacrifice for anything.) Informed freedom of speech for everyone sits at the core of any ideal society, and the creation of such a place relies on some form of equity.

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About the author

Hugh Possingham

Professor Hugh Possingham became Queensland Chief Scientist in September 2020. A conservation scientist and mathematician, he has held positions in the university, public and not-for...

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