The recalibration of our relationships with science (and nature) by natural hazard risk mitigation practitioners

Weir, JK, Neale, Timothy and Clarke, EA 2021, The recalibration of our relationships with science (and nature) by natural hazard risk mitigation practitioners, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, pp. 1-24, doi: 10.1177/25148486211019828.

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Title The recalibration of our relationships with science (and nature) by natural hazard risk mitigation practitioners
Author(s) Weir, JK
Neale, TimothyORCID iD for Neale, Timothy orcid.org/0000-0003-4703-5801
Clarke, EA
Journal name Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Start page 1
End page 24
Total pages 24
Publisher SAGE Publications
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2021-06-04
ISSN 2514-8486
2514-8494
Keyword(s) Science studies
natural hazard risk mitigation
socionatural complexity
wildfire
post-truth
Summary Unrealistic expectations in society about science reducing and even eliminating the risk of natural hazards contrasts with the chaotic forces of these events, but such expectations persist nonetheless. Risk mitigation practitioners must grapple with them, including in the cycles of blame and inquiry that follow natural hazard events. We present a synthesis of such practitioner experiences from three consequential bushfire and flood risk landscapes in Australia in which science was being used to change policy and/or practice. We show how they chose to work with, counter and recalibrate unrealistic expectations of science, as well as embrace socionatural complexity and a consequential nature. The mismatch between the challenges faced by the sector and the unrealistic expectations of science, generated more stressful work conditions, less effective risk mitigation, and less effective use of research monies. In response, we argue for structural and procedural change to address legacy pathways that automatically privilege science, especially in relation to nature, with broader relevance for other environmental issues. This is not to dismiss or debase science, but to better understand its use and utility, including how facts and values relate.
Notes In Press
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/25148486211019828
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30153036

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