Are scientists bad communicators, or are non-scientists bad listeners? Perhaps a little of both. Partly, this is due to the insular nature of academia. But even for conservation scientists who leave campus and spend time ‘in the field,’ their connection with local people may still be lacking or absent entirely. Surely this is a mistake; solutions to environmental problems are just as much social and economic as they are scientific. How can we break down the communication barrier between researchers and local communities?
Brad Fankel is the founder of Flooglebinder, a company that connects university students to conservation projects around the world. Brad and co-founder Ian Taylor believe that travel is a formative experience, particularly for young people who lack work experience or a clear career path. The creation of ‘global citizens’ – individuals who demonstrate understanding and empathy towards people of other cultures and places – is central to Flooglebinder’s philosophy. Hear about how Flooglebinder is putting the community back in conservation science.
In this episode:
+ How Flooglebinder gives university students the opportunity to engage in meaningful work and simultaneously broaden their perspective
+ The domino effect: how small, everyday choices really do matter when it comes to the environment
+ The origin story of Flooglebinder, and its winning formula of science, community, and cultural understanding
+ Know your audience: why conservationists and researchers need to tailor their message to be taken seriously by non-scientists
+ Brad recounts a moving experience with an elephant herd in Sri Lanka, and why ‘taking time to smell the roses’ is important for tourists and researchers alike
+ “If you give a man a fish…” How travellers can help communities and the environment by supporting local business, and why researchers have a social responsibility towards local people
“If we don’t start to make these changes, it’s really simple. These places won’t continue to be there. These species won’t continue to be there for us to observe and enjoy.”Brad Fankel