The Tale of A Seminar

We kick-started the new year with an inspiring and hugely engaging talk by Prof. Gordon Blair, who has woven sustainability research into a 'Tale of Two Cities'.

What better way to kick start the year (and new academic term) than with an inspiring talk! We hosted Prof. Gordon Blair in our Data2Discovery Seminar Series with a talk titled somewhat mysteriously the 'Tale of Two Cities'. We laughed, we cried... well we certainly came to keenly appreciate the tension of opposites that surrounds sustainability research, spanning between techno-optimism on the one hand, and doom-ism on the other; but Gordon managed to chart a path of – well informed – hope through this difficult terrain. He is also such an engaging speaker, many thanks for the talk, Gordon! 

The full title was ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Digital Technology and the Natural Environment’ and Gordon spoke with great passion of how science and technology can help us navigate the arguably most pressing global challenge of today: climate change. The topic is very close to our hearts here at the DSU, so after the seminar we continued discussions around a pot of tea for quite some time. Two (entwined) things came through to us very strongly from both the talk, and the ensuing conversation: first, we have the means available, the problem is more political and social than technical; second, it is very much a systems challenge and it needs us to think bigger than just the isolated STEM tools or subfields, we need post-normal science: radically open, transparent, collaborative and integrative. On that last one especially, we could not agree more!

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Picture of graffitied text reading 'no planet B' in green and pink capitals, on dirty white brickwork.

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