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NSF creates new Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS) connecting Indigenous wisdom with Western science
According to this new article in Nature, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has just launched the Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Science (CBIKS) based at UMass Amherst with $30 million in funding over five years. The center joins more than a dozen active NSF Science and Technology Centers across the United States that focus on core research areas.The goal is to “cultivate Indigenous knowledge of the environment, and weave it together with Western scientific methods.” It will focus on projects around medicine, weather, climate, and biology. Of particular interest to librarians, the center has “developed its own protocols for managing intellectual property, to ensure that Indigenous communities have a say in how and when information is used by outside entities.”
“As Indigenous people, we have science, but we carry that science in stories,” says archaeologist and center co-director Sonya Atalay who is of Anishinaabe-Ojibwe heritage. “We need to think about how to do science in a different way and work differently with Indigenous communities.”
As well as advancing Indigenous science, CBIKS will attempt to set itself apart in how knowledge and information are managed, disseminated and ultimately returned to Indigenous communities.
Atalay says that her nightmare scenario is a well-established one in which, for example, scientists tap into local plant knowledge and publish and ultimately appropriate it for profit through drug companies. The centre has already developed its own protocols for managing intellectual property, to ensure that Indigenous communities have a say in how and when information is used by outside entities, she says.
Beautiful video on the history of fire lookouts – and fire! – highlights lots of US govt publications and records
Ever since I read Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums so many moons ago, I’ve been fascinated with fire lookouts. So I was delighted to run across this beautiful video by Aidin Robbins “Life as the Last Fire Lookout.” He does a great job explaining the history of fire lookouts through his interview with Russ Dalton, one of the last fire watchers, and explains how these structures have largely disappeared into the mists of history and why the remaining ones need to be preserved. But one of the best things I got from Robbins’ video was a long bibliography of US Forest Service documents and archival records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that he helpfully listed in the description of this youtube video — and at least 2 of which are UNREPORTED documents that I’ve just submitted!
Here’s another example of the Trump administration naming people to political posts in federal agencies in order to damage and destroy public trust in those agencies. This time it’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which, among other responsibilities, runs the National Weather Service and produces all sorts of information and data on climate to “help people understand and prepare for climate variability and change.” The administration just named David Legates, a University of Delaware professor of climatology and long-time climate change denier affiliated with the conservative astroturf Heartland Institute, as deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction. It’s going to take many years for executive agencies across the federal government to come back from the damage created by this administration.
David Legates, a University of Delaware professor of climatology who has spent much of his career questioning basic tenets of climate science, has been hired for a top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Legates confirmed to NPR that he was recently hired as NOAA’s deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction. The position suggests that he reports directly to Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the agency that is in charge of the federal government’s sprawling weather and climate prediction work.
Neither Legates nor NOAA representatives responded to questions about Legates’ specific responsibilities or why he was hired. The White House also declined to comment.
Legates has a long history of using his position as an academic scientist to publicly cast doubt on climate science. His appointment to NOAA comes as Americans face profound threats stoked by climate change, from the vast, deadly wildfires in the West to an unusually active hurricane season in the South and East.
Global temperatures have already risen nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century as a result of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. Warming is happening the fastest at the Earth’s poles, where sea ice is melting, permafrost is thawing and ocean temperatures are heating up, with devastating effects on animals and humans alike.
Are Frequent Flier Miles Killing the Planet? By Seth Kugel. March 5, 2020
“In October, a two-line recommendation buried on Page 35 of a report commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Committee on Climate Change garnered disproportionate attention in the world of frequent fliers.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/05/travel/loyalty-programs-climate-change.html
The report, “Behaviour change, public engagement and Net Zero” (Imperial College London), is available at the Committee on Climate Change’s website.
“The Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Our purpose is to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change.” http://www.theccc.org.uk
One can find all of their publications (reports and letters) at https://www.theccc.org.uk/publications/
co-published on govdoc-l and freegovinfo.info.
“An official at the Interior Department embarked on a campaign that has inserted misleading language about climate change – including debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial – into the agency’s scientific reports, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times…The Interior Department’s emails, dating from 2017 through last year and obtained under public-records laws by the watchdog group Energy and Policy Institute, provide the latest evidence of the Trump administration’s widespread attacks on government scientific work. The administration has halted or scaled back numerous research projects since taking office, including an Obama-era initiative to fight disease outbreaks around the world – a decision that has drawn criticism in recent weeks as a deadly coronavirus has spread globally…The misleading language appears in environmental studies and impact statements affecting major watersheds including the Klamath and Upper Deschutes river basins in California and Oregon, which provide critical habitat for spawning salmon and other wildlife. In addition, millions of acres of farms in California’s agriculturally important Central Valley are supplied, in part, by the Klamath, which is California’s second-largest river by volume and is only slightly smaller than the Colorado River. Thirsty farms there have used increasing amounts of water at a rate that scientists say hurts wildlife and imperils the salmon industry.”
It would be useful to know which reports contain the language and if they are in the Federal Depository Library Program. Neither the New York Times article nor the Energy and Policy Institute mention the titles. I’ll inquire at the Institute in case they can provide.
co-published on govdoc-l and freegovinfo.info.