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EGENIS seminar series: “The Greenpeace Research Laboratories and the role of science within a global environmental campaigning organisation”, Dr David Santillo (Greenpeace Research Laboratories, University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series

An Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences seminar
Date25 February 2019
Time15:30 to 17:00
PlaceByrne House

In working towards a more sustainable future across all aspects of society, Greenpeace aims to bear witness to environmental problems and to support work to identify innovative solutions. Campaigning is in part about winning ‘hearts and minds’, but that is only likely to lead to secure change in the right directions if work is underpinned by a strong evidential basis, including in science. The role of the Greenpeace Research Laboratories, which have been based within the University of Exeter and affiliated with the School of Biosciences for more than a quarter of a century, is to provide objective scientific advice and primary analytical research capabilities to Greenpeace’s offices around the world, across a range of disciplines.

This seminar will provide an overview of the work of our laboratories, including the application of environmental forensics techniques, on a range of contemporary issues that are of particular relevance to the ways in which science can influence formulation of public policy.  Examples drawn from recent and ongoing studies of air quality, plastics pollution and the impacts of intensive agricultural production will be used to illustrate the links between the application of complex, perhaps seemingly abstract, analytical techniques and the ways in which different actors in society then communicate, perceive and react to the evidence that such studies can reveal.  It will also touch on the challenges in defining what is ‘responsible innovation’ and in developing appropriate governance for human interactions with the biosphere, such as proposed ‘geo-engineering’ of the climate and mining of the seabed, where uncertainties and unknowns dominate the data landscape.


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