Author: Siana Fitzjohn – University of Otago, New Zealand

The global cocktail of environmental crises has created plenty of work for environmental scientists and activists alike. Both groups are caught in a game to affect our relationship with ecosystems—how we know them, and how we live within them. Everyone plays the games differently. Environmental activists play games to affect policy, close mines and change minds. Environmental scientists play games to uncover shifting patterns of the biosphere. In socio-environmental conflicts, the games of activists and scientists overlap. My research explores the relationship between science and activism, and how each affects the games of the other. While scientific narratives remain the dominant way of framing and explaining issues like climate change, our environmental behaviour is driven by systemic inequality. ‘Systems’ of inequality can be hard to see, because they are how we see. They are buried in our ways of being and interacting with one another. Communications about environmental change can reinforce unjust systems, or resist them. Scientific narratives make elements of environmental conflicts visible, but they keep others invisible—this has implications for epistemic (in)justice. While science and activism each help and hinder the finite games of the other, they both affect our play in the infinite games. The games for social and environmental justice. The aim of the games is to keep the games going.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Show, tell and talk
Theme: Stories
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices