World Wide Views on Biodiversity
Major: 
Environmental Science
Faculty Mentor: 
Gretchen Gano, UMass Science, Technology and Society Initiative, Center for Public Policy and Administration
Community Partner: 
Museum of Science (Boston, MA)

This is my first experience with Community Engaged Research. I was fascinated with this particular project because it gives individuals the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights and participate in public decision-making regarding science and technology. I was drawn to this project because it provides an important connection between citizens and experts in the field of science and technology. It closes the informational gap that is often seen between lay people and scientists.

 

I am passionate about helping people and giving a community a voice that can be heard on an international level. I believe this is a fundamental model of decision-making that can change the direction of our future.

Project Goal: 

To recruit Western Massachusetts residents from ethnic minority and low-income backgrounds as applicants to participate in a global public deliberation event "World Wide Views on Biodiversity"

Project Summary: 

In advance of the eleventh meeting of the United Nations Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 11) in India in October, a day of public deliberation was scheduled. This global event, called "World Wide Views on Biodiversity" was held on September 15 at host sites around the world.

 

At each site, 100 representative citizens discussed important policy issues, learned about biodiversity, and expressed their views to shape the discussion and recommendations at COP 11. The Boston Museum of Science was among the 30 host sites, and one of only four in the United States. It was co-hosted by the Science, Technology and Society Initiative at the Center for Public Policy and Administration at UMass Amherst.

 

This project aimed to bring the voices of average citizens to the deliberations by selecting 100 Massachusetts participants who reflect the diversity of the state based on census data. Online, in-person and print solicitations were used to recruit Western Massachusetts applicants from (1) diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds; (2) the two lowest income categories on the U.S. census; and (3) the two lowest census categories for educational level.