Posted by: egutoday | April 6, 2011

Jelle’s column

Scientists are a privileged species. We can do (almost) everything we want and where our scientific interests carry us. In the early nineties, I started “the carbon group” at the Alfred-Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research. Initially, my quest was purely curiosity and science driven and focused on understanding the global carbon cycle. This was hot in those days because of its connection to global warming and the exciting challenges it offered.

However, recognising that atmospheric carbon not only affected climate but also the marine ecosystem via ocean acidification (OA). I realised that this “double trouble” was more than just a scientific playing ground and might actually be one of the biggest challenges for future society! Suddenly, there was another dimension to my work and I understood my scientific obligation to do more than just investigating and understanding the Earth’s system for fun.

I started writing the European Science Foundation “Science Policy Briefing” and became involved in international working groups on OA. I also became a member of the international Reference User Group and initiated a number of outreach activities. I’m grateful to have many colleagues with whom I work together towards reaching decision makers and politicians and slowly working towards changing society for the better.
Jelle Bijma
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine research, Bremerhaven, Germany
This column expresses the personal opinion of the author


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