IntroductionSabina Leonelli endorses Global Young Academy call
Egenis Senior Lecturer is one of the young scientists calling on the scientific community to do more to promote progress towards global sustainability. "Scientists must do more to work with decision-makers to address the environmental crisis," said Dr Leonelli, one of only a handful of UK members of the Global Young Academy.
The Global Young Academy (GYA), founded in 2010 as the voice of young scientists around the world, today issues its Sandton Declaration on Sustainability. "Our members feel a special urgency on sustainability, since many of us came of age in the period between the first 'Earth Summit' on sustainability at Rio in 1992, and the United Nations Conference on Sustainability, the so-called Rio+20 meeting, which starts today," said Dr Leonelli, who is a member of the GYA global policy group. "We are the inheritors of the decisions being made over the next three days, so we have a vested interest in charting the way forward."
"The UN Conference is a crucial opportunity for world leaders in policy, science and industry to promote progress towards sustainability," she continued. "The GYA debated the role that scientists can and should play to help these proceedings during its General Assembly in May. We concluded that scientists must take a much more active role in promoting adequate understanding and use of scientific evidence in decision-making. However, reward structures in science often discourage or even punish public engagement and outreach, which are not regarded as proper scientific activities. This needs to change urgently, as we stress in today’s 'Sandton Declaration'."
GYA members are chosen for their demonstrated excellence in scientific achievement and commitment to civil society. Currently there are 173 members from 54 countries.