Saturday 26 February 2011

why human rights activists are not like climate scientists

In the last blog, would a play about climate scientists be the best way to write about climate science?, the point was made that a play about human rights didn't have to feature a human rights activist.

The analogy between human rights activists and climate scientists has prompted a couple of emails.

One email pointed to the difference in the way the professional and emotional lives interacted:

I think climate scientists and human rights activists are completely different in terms of the potential tension between their emotional and professional lives, the material they are working with and how they are viewed publicly.

The other suggested that the kinds of knowledge that each work with and represent are fundamentally different.

Science is so embedded in knowledge about climate change, that it is a different kind of thing to human rights. So I'm not sure the comparison really holds up. Does this matter? Maybe not in a general kind of way - if what this means is that the 'specialist' or 'expert' is not the only person who can speak. But it does matter in a more specific way - that in thinking about climate change on stage - it might be a relief to get rid of the scientists, but one may still have to come to grips with science - in much more complexity than just the 'facts' or 'predictions' or 'scepticism'.

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