A while ago I asked some of my colleagues what they thought the greatest discoveries in biology were. The answers didn’t vary much. DNA and inheritance, the field of microbiology, natural selection as the mechanism of evolution were all cited by multiple people. All the people I asked though have one thing in common – they have decided to make their living within the field of biology. So what about the people who aren’t part of the converted?
I have taught many of these people, primarily within high school upgrading courses in physics and biology. Many of my students are adults, back in school to enable themselves to change careers, or do more with their current career. On the last unit exam of the course I put the following question: “tell me something you have learned in this class that you have not already answered a question on.” Most of the answers related to specific concepts that we had covered, but there were a few that made me proud to teach science: “I learned that physics can be fun.”
In How to Re-imagine the world: A pocket guide for practical visionaries (2013) Anthony Weston discusses what would have happened if Martin Luther King had begun his speech with “I have a nightmare.” I think that there are many people out there who view science and sustainability under the lens of a nightmare rather than a dream. It is my goal therefore, to share a little bit from my dreams of science and sustainability, in the hopes that I might engage someone else, and enable them to say “I learned that science can be fun.”