– Wayne Richardson, P.Eng., CMOS President –
New Year’s Eve is fast approaching and the holiday season is upon us as I write this message. Here in Ottawa, Parliament has recessed and another year has gone by with very little real headway on increasing the funding and good management of science across the federal government. The world is exhibiting the significant spasms of instability we have wrought upon the planetary atmospheric and ocean systems through our ineffectual attempts to moderate climate change. Polar ice is retreating, fires are raging, floods are rampant.
But life goes on – and CMOS members continue to do their part in improving our environment and in creating and providing the tools to manage our day-to-day activities and the long-term health of our atmosphere and oceans. Through our new electronic Bulletin, we will be able focus our message on the positive and important scientific and operational work of our members. I would also like now to highlight some of our other activities in working to bridge the gaps between science, policy and society.
Over the past year we have supported organizations such as Evidence for Democracy (E4D). E4D emerged in 2012 in response to the attack on government science by the Harper government. E4D has become a leading fact-driven, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization promoting the transparent use of evidence in government decision-making in Canada. Their issue-based campaigns tackle emerging issues affecting science and evidence-based public policy in Canada. They work with national and local partners to organize events, raise awareness, and engage the public directly with policy-makers.
For many years, CMOS has been an active participant in the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering (PAGSE). PAGSE is an umbrella group of 25 + science and engineering organizations operating under the auspices of the Royal Society, and is supported by NSERC. Over the years, PAGSE has held scientific symposia and has provided submissions to Parliamentary Committees on science issues, particularly submissions to the pre-budget process with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. For well over a decade, PAGSE has delivered the Bacon and Eggheads Breakfast seminars on Parliament Hill. This flagship series brings Parliamentarians together with experts in science and engineering, showcasing outstanding Canadian research accomplishments. Its purpose is to provide unbiased insight into topical scientific issues, within a non-partisan forum. This prestigious forum represents an ongoing and unique opportunity for scientists to communicate important findings to a distinguished and influential audience and CMOS has provided its share of speakers and topics.
Let’s Talk Science is an award-winning, national, charitable organization that creates and delivers a number of unique learning programs and services that engage children, youth and educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). For example, the Annual Challenge is a team-based, competitive, enrichment event offered for Grade 6-8 students. This free, fun-filled program gives students the opportunity to build their team skills, interact with relevant role models and test their abilities against peers. Approximately 3,000 students participate annually. Our Executive Director, Gordon Griffith has been working with the organization to promote the science and profession of meteorology in the 2018 Challenge Guideline documentation. David Sills, a severe weather scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will be highlighted, as well as the Southern Ontario Lightning Mapping Array (SOLMA) technology from David’s group in ECCC.
As we start the New Year, I would like all members to think about your stories, photos and videos and examples of the technologies that you use. Let’s show our student members how we use the field work and course work that we did as undergrads and post grads in our daily work lives. Let’s show Canadian taxpayers how important their financial resources are in improving their lives through our national and international scientific enterprise.
I urge all members to get involved with any of these communication and education initiatives. Please do subscribe to the new electronic Bulletin, where you can read and share the important work of your colleagues, and consider how you can work with us to share the stories of the work that you do with people around the world. Our future is formed by the actions of today.
All the best in 2018!