Friday, September 29, 2006

Suzuki to Dion, "Take My Research"

The online and blogging community had a field day tearing down Stephane Dion for failing to cite the David Suzuki Foundation report The Air We Breathe as a source for his environmental platform, accusing the liberal leadership hopeful of plagiarism, unoriginality and deceit. It turns out the only people who cared were those making the allegations. David Suzuki certainly doesn't.

In his weekly Science Matters column, the acclaimed environmentalist and scientist puts forward an open call for the general use of his foundation's research.

To all politicians looking for ways to reduce our footprint on nature – or, to use politician-speak, create an “environmental platform”: Knock yourselves out. Feel free to steal, pilfer, borrow, rent, filch or otherwise take any research my foundation does and put it to good use.

This may seem obvious to some, but the whole point of conducting and publishing this research is to get people to actually use it. As public education, it helps raise awareness of environmental problems. But more important, it provides solutions to those problems. And most of those solutions are best implemented by our political and business leaders, rather than by individuals.

So if you ask me if it bothers me that politicians are stealing the solutions brought forward by my foundation, the answer is no. To use a computer term, we consider this information “open source.”

Open source.....a sentiment most bloggers could chime in on I think. For organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation, having their ideas and research implemented in policy is both the end goal and the purpose of their very existence. At no time that I recall have we insisted on politicians citing authors and academic sources for their speeches, policies and political agendas. The efforts by reporters and bloggers to vilify M. Dion smacks of partisanship, bias, hypocrisy, and arguably a direct attack against those who bring environmental concerns to the public eye.

For the reckless capitalists and right wing pundits of our culture, nothing is more fearsome than confronting the fact that we as people are indeed a part of the natural systems of this planet, and in the long run, our society will ultimately be accountable to the measure of its sustainability. To them I say, get ready for the reckoning. There's a lot more to come.

2 comments:

WaterSANA said...

Excellent piece. Thank you for both linking to waterSana and for producing one of the best "green" sites out there. As a newer kid on the block, I have flagrantly lifted ideas from your site - with head hung low guilt - and just thought it would be okay, just doing my site a bit differently from yours. (Chin on chest.)

But your thoughts, so well said here, are my sentiments exactly. With an open source approach, all of us together, reaching various audiences, might possibly reach enough people on the planet to make a difference.

I also very much like the name of your site. A little story: A physicist I know was a speaker at Washington University some years back. He asked the other physicists at the roundtable about their theory of consciousness. They replied with raised brow, "Consciousness, we don't have a theory of that."

Keep planting trees. - Hugh

WaterSANA said...

Excellent piece. Thank you for both linking to waterSana and for producing one of the best "green" sites out there. As a newer kid on the block, I have flagrantly lifted ideas from your site - with head hung low guilt - and just thought it would be okay, just doing my site a bit differently from yours. (Chin on chest.)

But your thoughts, so well said here, are my sentiments exactly. With an open source approach, all of us together, reaching various audiences, might possibly reach enough people on the planet to make a difference.

I also very much like the name of your site. A little story: A physicist I know was a speaker at Washington University some years back. He asked the other physicists at the roundtable about their theory of consciousness. They replied with raised brow, "Consciousness, we don't have a theory of that."

Keep planting trees.