From the Smiths to Social media – talking about science


‘Climate change is a myth’; ‘Caring for the environment means that animals are more important than people’.

Many people are increasingly sceptical about science, especially climate science, while others feel that biodiversity conservation is an indulgence for the rich. Icthyologist and science communicator Judy Mann-Lang will look at what’s not working with how scientists communicate important information about the environment in the Smith Memorial Lecture 2017 next Thursday. Her topic is ‘Communicating about Science and the Environment – from the Smiths to Social Media’.

We know that a key challenge facing the environmental movement is the need for changes in the lifestyle of humans, as environmental issues can only be addressed through a shift in individual attitudes and behaviour.

“Clearly there is room for improvement in our current approaches to communicating about the environment,” Lang-Mann said in a preview of her talk.

Her presentation will look at how environmental communication has evolved over time and will explore South African attitudes to both science and the environment.

“From rural fishermen to politicians, from preschool children to grandmothers, there are myriad communication tools available to address these issues,” Mann-Lang said.

“Ultimately, if our children are to inherit a healthier planet, we need to do a much better job of communicating why science and the environment matter.”

Judy Mann-Lang

Judy Mann-Lang, Conservation Strategist at the South African Association for Marine Biological Research in Durban will present the 2017 Smith Memorial Lecture on Thursday 21 September at 6.30pm. Her presentation is entitled ‘Communicating about Science and the Environment – from the Smiths to Social Media’.

The amazing diversity of life in the ocean has always intrigued Mann-Lang and led her to a Master’s Degree in Ichthyology. She is passionate about marine conservation and has focused her career on helping people to care for the oceans.

Mann-Lang started work with the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) in Durban, South Africa in 1992. While at the Association, she has worked as a research scientist in the Oceanographic Research Institute; was the Sea World Director of Education, the uShaka Sea World Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the Association.

Mann-Lang is now the Conservation and Communication Strategist of the Association, helping to guide conservation communication and actions. She has recently completed a PhD through the University of Queensland in Australia. Her research investigated the influence of culture on behaviour and environmental learning; in order to enable us to engage more effectively with people about conservation.

Mann-Lang will give the Smith Memorial Lecture 2017 on the topic ‘Communicating about Science and the Environment – from the Smiths to Social Media’ on Thursday 21 September 2017 at 6.30pm. The venue is SAIAB in Somerset Street. RSVP Lulama Makana 046 603 5800.

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