Science with a heart

By Carrie Bengston

Most people wouldn’t pick science as a career that cares for people. Doctors? Tick. Counsellors? Tick. Social workers? Tick. But scientists – really? Well, yes. Science does have a heart.

Here are some of our scientists doing research with a social conscience, science that improves people’s lives, especially people disadvantaged by poverty, ill-health or living in remote areas. Their work helps people in Australia and overseas. It’s our science with a heart. We’ve picked 4Ps to tell you about each – person, project, pluses and perceptions.

Anthony Chariton: Protecting bush tucker food sources

Anthony Chariton is working with Indigenous rangers at Kakadu

Anthony Chariton is working with Indigenous rangers at Kakadu

Project:

Biodiversity under the surface of tropical river floodplains. A National Environment Research Program (NERP) – Northern Australia Hub.

In Kakadu National Park we’re developing ways to provide early warning for saltwater intruding into freshwater floodplain areas of the Alligator Rivers because of sea-level rise due to climate change. We are using bacteria and animals found in floodplain sediments to get early signals of saltwater before changes occur above ground.

Pluses:

Getting early warning of saltwater intrusion into wetlands – this threatens to change the vegetation and habitat for animals like magpie geese and freshwater turtles, which in turn will impact on indigenous bush tucker and the environment.

Perceptions:

The project’s field work in remote areas of northern Australia has been a fantastic experience for me. As a big-city dweller, I’ve had little contact with indigenous people and little exposure to the issues they face or their culture. It’s been an incredible eye-opener working with indigenous rangers in the beautiful Kakadu area. This project has shown me the potential significant impact of climate change on a traditional culture.

This is an abridged version of a blog which originally appeared on the CSIRO blog. To read the full post go to news@csiro.

Thank you to CSIRO for granting permission to reproduce this excerpt.

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