Thursday, October 23, 2014

Indigenous Peoples as Citizen Scientists

I'm off to the inaugural Citizen Science Conference in San Jose, February 11-12 next year. I'll be delivering a 'speed talk' which entails 5 minutes to deliver the message, a great idea for conferences where it can be hard talk sitting through hour after hour of deliveries...

My 300 seconds will be on the role of Indigenous Peoples in this CitSci space. We hold important knowledge of their environments. This ancient knowledge is increasingly sought as data for a variety of scientific disciplines and practices including environmental management, ecology, ethnobotany, fisheries, forestry, and disaster risk reduction. Many Indigenous communities are not opposed to working with scientists and various international conventions have articulated a role for Indigenous knowledge, particularly traditional ecological knowledge. However, the history of much ‘collaboration’ has created significant barriers to progressing truly inclusive Citizen Science in many countries. I'll give a few brief examples from Aotearoa New Zealand will to show that empowering Indigenous individuals and collectives as 'Citizen Scientists' will require an acceptance of possibly radically different worldviews as well as the acknowledgement of broader issues of justice and ethics.


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Housing in a Post-disaster landscape: Otautahi/Christchurch

A report just published by Te Puawaitanga ki Otautahi reveals how bad the situation is in the city after the earthquakes. Their survey found that housing has 'declined dramatically' with the standard of most housing deteriorating and the high costs of private rental meaning many whanau have to share their home with extended family, sometimes having to relocate outside of the city.
A key challenge is finding warm dry affordable housing.
As a result of poor housing, health risks have increased, particularly skin infections and respiratory problems, anxiety and stress.
Babies are at higher risk to SIDS.
Given some of the raised eyebrows I get when I keep presenting and publishing how bad the post-disaster city is for many Maori, it is getting (quoting Alice in Wonderland) curiouser and curiouser how little attention this gets by Maori and non-Maori authorities.
It is also difficult to see this situation improving anytime soon. Think back to when the Minister of Earthquake Recovery assured us the 'the market' would provide solutions.
He's dead right of course, and this is what the market solution looks like.
Full report available here
Simon Lambert

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