From the Co-Presidents
We are a group of science communicators. Many of us act in roles that require impartial observation and conscientiously unbiased reportage. We therefore typically avoid declarations of support for either side in an ongoing debate. A journalist should not advocate. A public servant should not lobby. A scientist should not express subjective opinions.
Regardless of our professional roles, as a community we can agree: war is devastating.
We are devastated by the loss of life and the grievous suffering inflicted upon the Ukrainian people. We are devastated by the pointless death of Russian soldiers, caused at the decree of their leaders. We are devastated by how this conflict has impacted the global community and will continue to harm humanity for years to come.
The Australian Science Communicators thoroughly condemn this war and the Russian leaders who continue to choose to not end it.
We call on our members (and those who are not yet members) to join us in finding ways to voice our abhorrence of the unnecessary harm caused to those impacted by this conflict. We call on our friends here and abroad to do whatever they can to support those in need. We call on all international governments to contribute in whatever way possible to end the suffering.
We know a statement won’t suddenly halt the conflict. Other, bigger organizations with greater geopolitical relevance have delivered statements on massive platforms, with sadly little impact, to date. But we also know that words can create powerful bonds between people.
Communication is, at its core, a bridge between people; a way to convey understanding, share perspective, and build compassion.
In Australia, ANZAC day is only a few short weeks away. Lest we forget the horrors caused by conflict, let us not slide into the error of glorifying battle. The true cost of war is not limited to the sum of dollars, hryvnia, ruble, or even the sum of land and material possessions lost. It is the countless lives ruined, the immeasurable pain inflicted upon generations, and the incalculable loss of progress toward a brighter and more prosperous future for humanity.
Finally, we know that many in or coming to Australia have ties to either Ukraine or Russia. Our community sees you. We remind ourselves and encourage others to resist the emotive reaction of blame and hatred towards an entire culture whose current leadership has failed them and harmed us all. The creation of an ‘other’ can only lead to further division and pain. While it will feel too soon for many, communication and compassion is the path to recovery.