Many thanks to Eritrean and Ethiopian colleagues for their support over the past few months, and for hosting inspiring conversations about land restoration. Our long-term work continues – restoring natural highland landscapes using native trees, while simultaneously ensuring economic benefit for local people with faster growing species and improved grazing. We hope that funding will soon be available and look forward to upcoming meetings with potential partners. Scott’s 2018 publication “Restoration of Dry Mountain Forests in Eritrea – Scaling Up to Mitigate Climate Change” summarises the challenges we face and potential ways forward.
Do you think science is exciting? Useful? Accessible? If your immediate answer to any of these questions was “no” – or even a “um ..?” – it may be because scientists aren’t always good at communicating their work. Scientific discoveries have transformed how people live on this planet. Think of science’s role in technology, health, transport, entertainment. Science predicted the exact ‘Path of Totality in this August’s solar eclipse and eradicated polio.
But science is not the only way of understanding the world. People make sense of their experiences and take decisions based on emotion, culture, social influence, habit, and many other things. Scientific evidence isn’t always part of the mix.
Here at Mind the Gap, we work with diverse groups working on various social and environmental challenges in many countries. This requires the ability to speak across differences and meet people where they’re at – see things from their point of view. At the end of September, Megan Jones attended a ComSciCon conference to train science postgraduate students in communicating science to non-scientists. Many of the key points discussed are echoed in Mind the Gap’s work – for instance the importance of listening, building trust, empowering others, being creative, and being authentic. It was inspiring to see so many people committed to making science more exciting, useful and accessible – and working to achieve these changes together.
If you’re interested in learning more about communicating science or in sharing your ideas on the topic, reach out to Megan at megan[at]mind-the-gap.net.
Scott Jones was recently invited to present aspects of his work with African forestry and environmental restoration to the Somali Ecological Society in London. This successful day re-connected a number of people who developed the SES. It has led to a reinvigoration of the Society’s efforts to restore degraded lands and develop practical ecological science in the Horn of Africa. It also enabled Scott to reconnect with Des Mahoney, a former university colleague and forester in Somalia. Thanks to all and very best wishes in your endeavours.