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  • Open Lecture: Lessons Learned from Waterfleas, Whales and Bees.
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Updated 5 June 2019

Open Lecture: Lessons Learned from Waterfleas, Whales and Bees.

Photo: Tord Baklund
  • Monday 8 July 2019
    18:30 - 20:00

  • University of Oslo Aula

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  • Free

Photo: Tord Baklund
A journey into environmental controversies in the search for sustainable food.

This open lecture will be held by Dr. Fern Wickson, the Scientific Secretary of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) and a Senior Advisor at GenØk Centre for Biosafety in Tromsø.

"Ecology seeks to understand how organisms interact with their environment. It is a biological science that looks at how things are interconnected, how they interrelate. I am an ecologist interested in how we, the human species, interact with our environment. My work is transdisciplinary; researching the human/nature relationship through overlapping lens of biological science, ecological ethics and environmental politics. In this talk I will present some of the lessons I have learned about how ethics and politics are entangled in the science of environmental harm. These are lessons I have learned from working with waterfleas, whales and bees.

How we feed ourselves, as a species, is one of the foundational ways we construct and conduct our interaction with nature/the environment/our ecological community. It is a key mode of entry into our relationship with the rest of life on Earth. Today there is increasing recognition that modern industrial food systems have created extensive environmental damage and there is an urgent quest to find sustainable solutions. In this quest though, certain technologies and practices generate intense socio-political controversy over their role in a sustainable future.

This presentation will explore two such sustainable food controversies: genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture and the hunting of whales and seals in the North Atlantic. Through my ongoing engagement with these issues, I will demonstrate how the question of what constitutes environmental harm is a splendid swirling nexus of science, ethics and politics. And that in this complexity, there is much we can learn from being attentive to waterfleas, whales and bees. Indeed, to all the other species we share this extraordinary planet with."

The public lecture is part of the conference International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology 2019 taking place in Oslo 7. - 12. July 2019


Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology - Department of Biosciences, UiO - TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, UiO - Museum for University and Science History, UiO - Institute of Health and Society, UiO

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