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By Alan Irwin

We're all involved through the environmental threats dealing with us this day. Environmental matters are a big region of shock for coverage makers, industrialists and public teams of many alternative types. whereas technology turns out critical to our realizing of such threats, the statements of scientists are more and more open to problem during this quarter. in the meantime, voters may possibly locate themselves labelled as `ignorant' in environmental concerns. In Citizen technology Alan Irwin offers a far wanted course during the fraught courting among technology, the general public and the environmental chance.

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Extra info for Citizen Science: A Study of People, Expertise and Sustainable Development

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From the viewpoint of a working scientist (especially, but not solely, in areas such as toxicology and epidemiology) this certainty over risk and safety may seem quite perplexing – the science is typically open to major doubt and uncertainty. The ‘official’ message filtered out the inevitable technical uncertainties so as to offer an apparently authoritative and self-confident message – suggesting an important difference between ‘doing science’ (with all its messiness, conjecture and tacit assumptions) and ‘the public face of science’ (where such 28 SCIENCE AND CITIZENSHIP provisionality has apparently been lost so as to offer a ‘clear’ voice).

Although the herbicide had been produced since the 1940s, perhaps its bestknown application was during the Vietnam War when it was sprayed by US aircraft as a defoliant (and thus as a means of removing ground cover). , by railway workers to keep lines clear of weeds, by forestry workers to clear undergrowth, or by members of the public keeping their gardens free of brambles and nettles). Given international attention to the hazards of 2,4,5–T, a number of countries had at that time either banned or severely restricted the use of the herbicide: among them the United States, Canada and the former Soviet Union.

6 Such initiatives across Europe include local energy schemes (often linked to windmills or improved insulation systems), waste re-use and recycling, 38 SCIENCE, CITIZENS AND ENVIRONMENTAL THREAT • • • • alter native ag r icultural methods (typically less reliant on pesticides or other agrochemicals) and experiments in ecological communities (where villages are designed with ecolog ical principles firmly in mind whilst also employing new technologies – especially information technology – in an innovative and ‘environmentally-friendly’ way); a growing number of environmental regulations and controls – as developed, for example, by the European Union and other international bodies such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); membership of environmental organizations (in 1991, Greenpeace were claiming over 385,000 supporters in Britain alone); educational initiatives aimed at raising young people’s awareness of the environment at a local and global level; an avalanche of new books and publications on ‘the environment’.

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