Weaving Strands of Knowledge: Connecting Culture and Science to Climate Change
Marcos Stafne, Ph.D., Montshire Museum of Science, USA
Marcos' personal statement: As the executive director for the Montshire Museum of Science, I’m constantly thinking about how we can make science relevant to our community. One topic that continually floats to the surface of key issues that almost all science institutions must address is environmental sustainability, and furthermore, how humans have impacted our world to effect climate change. I have been working in the field of museums for over 21 years, and without fail, educational programs about sustainability and environmentalism have always been at the forefront of how we work with the public to make the world a better place.
Working with the Folk Heritage Museum of Bhutan and the Tarayana Foundation are great opportunities to connect culture and heritage with stories and scientific understanding. Over the years, I have worked with various entities in the Himalayas, and Bhutan has been one of the most dedicated countries with regard to gross national happiness and it’s relation to the environment. I’m hoping to delve deeply into the folk understanding of what it means to respect the world and how we, in the United States, might change our perceptions of how we can seek to better comprehend our effect on our environment. As a researcher, I’m curious to learn what commonalities and differences people from two different parts of the world have with regard to their understanding of climate and environmental sustainability. I’m also curious to learn more about what we can learn from hearing each other’s stories.
I think that the contemplation, development, and sharing of stories will help to personalize climate change and environmental sustainability for the participants in this project and beyond. Stories help information to stick to in the mind. Finding the right balance of storytelling and science will be tricky, but a challenge that can hopefully influence and impact people to make positive changes in their day-to-day lives. Seeing and hearing stories from another culture regarding the same issue will hopefully broaden the world view of how issues of climate change and environmental sustainability are a global issue—one we must all address.