Scientists behaving responsibly: should science walk the talk on climate breakdown?

The SGR Responsible Science Conference 2019

The Gallery, Farringdon, London, UK,  EC1M 6EL

Download Scientists Behaving Responsibly report

The threat of climate breakdown is now accepted as endangering human civilisation. We have science and scientists to thank for our understanding of this challenge. In particular, the recent special report of the IPCC on what it will take to stay below the 1.5 degree warming target concludes that, ‘rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes will be needed in all areas of society.’ This obviously includes science and scientists themselves, even more so given the privileged insight and understanding of the problem that they have.

Research on behaviour change shows how important and influential is the modelling of behaviour – people being seen to act differently – to validating, popularising and spreading new ways of living, and in this case with reducing our climate and environmental impact. New social norms emerge from the effect of positive ‘social contagion’. But how far has the science community itself, even the community around climate science, gone to align its activities and own behaviour with the climate challenge? Does it matter if there is a gap between their analysis, a recognition of the problem and what they actually do in their lives and work? If there is a damaging gap between the analysis, professed values of planetary concern and actual behaviour, how can it be closed?

The SGR Responsible Science Conference 2019 explored these questions with leading speakers and interactive sessions. It looked at the potentially greater role that science and scientists can play in preventing climate breakdown, by setting examples for more sustainable behaviour. 

The speakers and presentations were as follows - with some material available to download:

Some photos from the conference can be viewed at:

[image credit: iStock]

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