How Science is Used For Good Around the World

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated November 10th as World Science Day for Peace and Development. Their purpose is to offer an opportunity to demonstrate why science is relevant to our daily lives.

The theme for 2015 is “Science for a Sustainable Future; celebrating the UNESCO Science Report.” The Science Report monitors the development of science, technology and innovation worldwide.

UNESCO is highlighting four main areas relating to the 2015 theme:

  • Sustainability through science
  • Empowering people to design the solutions they need
  • Science for sustainable resource management
  • Inclusive and equitable development

Many international organizations and programs associated with UNESCO are using their scientific skills and knowledge to create positive change in these areas. Here are some inspiring examples.

The Global Renewable Energy and Training (GREET) Program

Developing countries often experience a lack of skilled scientists and technologists, especially when it comes to the installation and expansion of renewable energy systems.

The GREET Program helps countries develop education and specialized training for a broad range of professionals in this field, such as engineers, researchers and technicians.

They encourage countries to consider the social and economic good that renewable energy production brings, in addition to the ecological benefits.

For instance, the number of jobs created by the development of renewable energies is higher than that of other sources, such as gas, coal, oil and nuclear. By creating long-term professional jobs, countries are also creating a more empowered work force and stronger communities.

Memory of the World Program

The Memory of the World Program uses modern technology to record and distribute traditional and cultural knowledge from around the world.

The program’s mission is to facilitate preservation of the world’s documented heritage, such as historical books, manuscripts, drawings or other documentation, as well as modern news items, film or photographs.

The Memory of the World Register contains digital copies of everything that has been collected so far considered to have significant historical value. These archives are being continually added to and they are available to the public on the Memory of the World Register website.

Geoparks and Biosphere Reserves

A Global Geopark is an area that has an important geological heritage. By studying these areas, researchers can see how past geological events influenced the region and how that can relate to present day.

For instance, the geological history will show whether an area is prone to geological hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. This helps to prepare local disaster mitigation strategies.

Biosphere reserves are areas that include terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. The reserves are meant for testing and understanding the interactions between social and ecological systems.

Each reserve is studied in order to find ways to balance the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. Currently, there are 651 biosphere reserves in 120 countries.

Sandwatch

Started in the Caribbean in 1999, Sandwatch is a volunteer network of schools that work together to monitor and enhance local beach ecosystems.

These groups can investigate different aspects of their beaches, such as erosion, impact of human activities, pollution and debris, water quality, and plants and animals.

Particular interest is paid to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. The groups can then develop sustainable approaches to address any potential problems they find. Sandwatch participants actively contribute to building ecosystem resilience and adapting to climate change.

Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)

GOOS is a global system for observation and analysis of the world’s oceans. It’s made up of an international network of ships, buoys, subsurface floats, tide gauges and satellites that collect data on the physical characteristics as well as the biogeochemical profile of the world’s oceans.

GOOS provides descriptions of the present state of the oceans, including maps and forecasts of future conditions, such as harmful algal blooms, assessments of the vulnerability of fish stocks and farms, rainfall measurements and forecasts, and the basis for climate change forecasts.

The GOOS website has current statistics on many different oceanic issues, such as a Sea Level Watch, Coral Reef Watch and Arctic Ice Watch. These are all available to the public.

Network of Young TV Producers on HIV and AIDS

Technology and communication can play an important role in spreading the word about health promotion and research.

The Network of Young TV Producers on HIV and AIDS aims to improve the professional ability of young television producers reporting on HIV and AIDS. Broadcasting organizations throughout Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe participate in the program.

One of the products of this program are quality short films and documentaries. These productions are packaged and recorded on DVD under a free distribution agreement and are made available to broadcasting organizations and media training institutions.

The program also encourages regional broadcasting and media training organizations to support the prevention, treatment and care of HIV and AIDS.

L’Oreal-UNESCO “For Women in Science” Award

One of UNESCO’s primary goals is to promote gender equality in science. Women are still underrepresented in science due to a complex set of factors, including the loss of opportunity during women’s child-bearing years in many parts of the world.

Today, women account for only 30 percent of the world’s researchers, and even lower percentages at higher decision-making levels.

In order to promote the full participation of women in global science and research, UNESCO and the L’Oreal Corporate Foundation partnered to create the “For Women in Science” award.

Each year, the award is given to five outstanding women scientists (one per continent) for their innovative research and the contributions they have made to society. Since 1998, the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award has been given to 83 women throughout the world, and two of them have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.

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201 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

TYFS

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Jeanne R
Jeanne Rabout a year ago

TYFS

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Christine J.
Christine J2 years ago

Two threads here. Firstly, thanks for this fascinating article. I particularly like the idea of the Memory of the World Register. The difficulty is that digital stuff changes too often. I can still read a book that was printed in the 15th century. All I need is an eyeball and a light source, e.g. the sun. But, how many of us could play an 8-track stereo cartridge or mini cassette (younger readers Google it!)?Technology is changing at an exponential rate. Secondly, while I love Care2, I agree with MNJ below. It would be great to be able to word count/edit/delete our posts. Most of all, I'd like the ability to separate text into paragraphs. It's much easier to read. Thanks Care2.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry K3 years ago

Many thanks to you !

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Valerie A.
Valerie A3 years ago

thanks

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M.N. J.
M.N. J3 years ago

And on the topic of "improving" the site's comments sections, we continue to be unable to 1. edit our own comments, 2. delete our own comments, or 3. see a word count tool as we are composing our comments to know how many characters we can include before we are (seemingly arbitrarily) cut off toward the end of a lengthy comment. And back to the subject of paragraphing: are we supposed to compose elsewhere and then copy and paste here? How ridiculous that sounds, but it seems to be true.

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