The Canadian federal election was just called, meaning that campaigning has begun. One thing that is rarely discussed by Canadian politicians to the public is science. We all need science – from the water you drink and the food you eat, to the bicycles, planes, and automobiles that you use to travel long distances – without science we would not have any of that. Humanity faces grand challenges this century due to climate change, and we need to support the science that will help us adapt to our changing planet.
So, what are these grand challenges? The grand challenges include the sustainability and stability of our food and water supply in the face of rising temperatures, increased frequency of extreme weather events (such as hurricanes, drought, and heat waves), and shifting precipitation patterns, all the while producing more food to feed more people. Solving these grand challenges won’t be easy, but is possible – scientists around the world are currently working towards solving these problems. For example, one initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is called RIPE, for Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, which is about increasing food production by improving upon photosynthesis in crops. (You can read more about it at http://www.life.illinois.edu/plantbio/Features/LongOrtRIPE/LongOrtGatesRIPE.html). However, while scientists are working on solving these grand challenges, politicians have been cutting science funding. This reduces the resources available to scientists to solve humanity’s grand challenges, and without breakthroughs in basic and applied science, solving these challenges will remain out of our reach.
So, as the next election cycle begins in your respective countries, let us unite together and make science an important topic in elections worldwide. Let’s finally make politicians #ActOnClimate.
Stay safe and stay informed,