Seeds of Change - Heiner Benking's Blog - International Polar Year 2007-2008    
 International Polar Year 2007-2008
picture picture 1 Mar 2007 @ 19:25, by Heiner Benking

This international double-year focusses on something very central for global environmental research ! This contribution wonders if the poles but also oceans are treaded fairly and adequately in Global Environmental Research, Management, and Policy. Pls. visit: Earth Literacy and come back! We covered already last week in the entry on the Size of Africa how important it is to have a fair and non-distorted view on the world.

Berlin is a bees hieve, a hub, vibrating,... but are we making progress ? Is it eough to assemble the people, the scientists, the climatologists, ... the economists?
Our State secretary Mueller - see blob below - requested 1. new thinking, overcoming turfs or disciplinary thinking and inclding the awareness of the time-dimension to tackle the challenges of climate change.
Today the Polar Researchers of the world unveiled the polar- twin-year, another key inititriative to adress Climate Change. See: [link] & and [link]
But is measuring, modeling and research enough? how are these 50 000 researchers adressing the "mandate" of a state secretary who is in the business of the environment for 25 years?
I will critically question this in the next lines in this blob, but let me first read some of the initiatives, agendas, programmes unveiled today.
As obvious in this blog I will question the map and grids being used by these scientists. Are the pictures they have in mind and on their maps close to reality ? and what can they do beside sending out more ships and satellites, and making more models with finer and finer resolution, if their grids are questionable, or they do not make sure that policy makers, public and science are aware and using the same grids and scales.
We covered already last week in the entry on the Size of Africa how important it is to have a fair and non-distorted view on the world. When discussing with Elisabeth Mann-Borgese that the oceans are croped away from many world-maps we can wonder how the climatologist and polar researcher can bring together his grids with reality - and how their grids to model climate or environmental change match with reality. Already now we can say that their visualisations (maps) are very distorted not just at the poles and that they should use 3-D for showing outcomes of global simulations.
But as the saying goes: "What the eye doesn't see, the heart does not crave for" - or "when we think we know - but do nt, we get into trouble" - we should make sure that the areas critical for our climate are fairly represented - also in our mind's eye - so that researcher have an idea what the subject the study is about.
I include below some figures from posters by some of the key climate researchers in Germany and our Al Gore's picture - - butch watch the copyright! Al moving along the Earth - the same he already had at the wall in school - and where his classmate asked this "impossible questions". Please note: It is State of the Art to make 3-D modelling and visualisation - as the pictures from the dkfz - but it did seem to have not reached the media, education, and policy-level yet, and so some very strange pictures of Earth still dominate and influence our reasoning.

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