Anthropocene · Ecological Economics

If “future” spells “disasters”, a step forward is not what we want.

Pint of Science is a scientific festival where researchers at any stage of their career–from students to professors–share some of their research with the general public, in pubs. I think it’s a great idea, and indeed I’m really happy this festival is becoming very widespread worldwide… and Montreal, the city where my university is located, is no exception.

I was even more excited about this festival when I received an email asking if I wanted to participate as a speaker in Montreal 2019 Pint of Science, English edition. Could I ever say no to the possibility of talking about environmental problems to the general public? Of course not, not only because communicating research to the general public is important per se, but also because my research concerns disastrous environmental change, i.e. a huge problem rooted in our relationship with the Earth… and the first step to ameliorate this relationship, is talking about it outside the ivory tower.

So, in the evening of May 20, 2019, at the McKibbin’s Pub on Bishop Street, in Montreal, within the Our Society theme, the Rethinking Science event took place, with two talks: If “future” spells “disasters”, a step forward is not what we want, by me, Alice Damiano, and Researching research!?! A quest to understand public value in Arctic science, by my brilliant department fellow Ashlee-Ann Pigford.

A recording of my talk is available here. A short summary of my talk: One of the reasons why we are facing disastrous environmental change is that we have chosen a type of development, the Western one, and we have pursued it wholeheartedly, to the fullest extent. Clearly, this path needs to be questioned, because it is leading us to a future of disasters. In my research I am questioning it in the light of Indigenous perspectives, that in many cases have a more cautious and respectful relationship with the Earth–hence, instead of making a further step forward, I am stopping, looking around, and considering making a step back.

I am really grateful I for this experience, and I hope this festival will become more successful every year! In particular, I would like to thank the organizers Béatrice Reid and Rozzy Roberts, as well as McKibbin’s Pub (which happens to be also one of my favourite pubs in Montreal!)!

Here are some web images and posters of the event, taken from the Pint of Science website (credits go to them!).

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… but there is a prequel.

The title If “future” spells “disasters, a step forward is not what we want is a revised version of the titles of the talks I gave at Three Minute Thesis.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) and Ma Thèse en 180 Secondes (MT180) are, respectively, the English and the French version of a competition in which graduate students present their research in 3 minutes or less, with one static slide. I participated in different editions at McGill University, most of the times in English, sometimes French (more about this in this other blog post of mine).

I never won any prize, I never reached the final. But I have undoubtedly improved my presentation skills, both in English and in French–although, as you can see and hear, I still need to improve a lot.

This is the slide of my Three Minute Thesis (3MT) 2019 presentation at the Lister competition.

Alice Damiano 3MT Lister 2019

One of the judges of the Lister competition, Ms. Kathy MacLean, recorded each presentation, and kindly shared them with us, allowing us to share them online. Here you can listen to mine.

And this is the slide of my Ma Thèse en 180 Secondes (MT180) 2019 presentation.

Alice Damiano MT180 slide

In this case, SKILLSETS made a video of each presentation.

I have uploaded privately the video of my presentation here. As soon as I get the permission, I will modify the setting to “public”, so that you will be able to watch it too.

In 2021, during the pandemic, I participated again in Ma Thèse en 180 Secondes (MT180), in French, online. The recording is available here.

Enjoy these recordings! Please forgive my mistakes, I’m working on improving my presentation skills!


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