Boots on the Ground: Incorporating local and indigenous knowledge in discovery science

Organizer: Judit Ungvari
Format: Online, Evening

This session will include four speakers representing different geographic areas of the global south (e.g., Neotropics, southern Africa, and the Indo-West Pacific) and different scientific expertise (e.g., conservation, natural history collections, geology). The speakers will discuss the importance of integrating local and/or indigenous knowledge in the discovery process. At this session the panelist will discuss their work discovering new species, finding novel geographic sites, creating conservation initiatives and other ‘boots on the ground’ exploration. The need for building and supporting scientific infrastructure in the areas where more affluent Western researchers sometimes practice ‘helicopter science’ will be discussed. There remains many new undescribed organisms and places on Earth and incorporating local knowledge will help us understand parts of the world that have remained unknown to Western science. Collaboration (not incorporation) and cooperation (not assimilation) with those in the regions where we work in the global south should be a priority going forward. The panelists will invite audience members to participate in the discussion, and continue the conversation to explore multiple ways of fruitful collaborations that aid discovery, respect local knowledge and generate opportunities for understanding our natural world.

Themes: Sustainability for Who?