| View Thread | Return to Index | Read Prev Msg | Read Next Msg |

Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Wholesome communication: the essence of wisdom

Posted By: R. Sudarshana
Date: Monday, 20 December 1999, at 5:33 p.m.

In Response To: Effective communication: strengthening environmental journalism / Kenya. (Wambui Kiai)

I often hear that the ‘talent to communicate’ would be the most valuable and saleable commodity in the next century. While it could be argued that the best communicators know enough to make communication look important, it is also true as you and ACCE found out that environmental journalism is important to spread the message of scientific concerns in a simpler and generally acceptable way. Well, a resource book as you discovered and the web media as Gillian advocated are amongst the best ways to catch the attention of the elite class of people who have had the most luxurious gift of life – the education. But I and you come from societies that are multilayered in knowledge and scientific temperament. Especially, my country is distinctly structured over a broad range of ‘power to understand’ and there is a need to communicate not just in one direction but in a ‘sea-saw’mode. While we (man in the lab/library/workdesk) need to communicate on what we know, there is also a need for them (man in the environment/in the boat with the net) to tell us what they know.

Surely, effective communication is a wise practice. But the wholesome wisdom emerges only when the communication is established both ways and in a structured manner. Let me trace the events of a widely practiced coastal activity – the fisheries.

Fisherman – catches the fish: He can tell us his traditional knowledge on fish behaviour, schooling, environmental preference and association. He needs to be told about sustainability, ecology, principles of resource regeneration, pros and cons of mechanization, modern scientific tools from GPS to satellites.

Trader – manages supply and demand: He can tell us about seasonal catch composition, ground level economics, catch per unit effort, shelf life and market potential. He needs to be told about carrying capacity of the environment, sustainability of size classes and need to support community level cash flow.

Local Government – regulates the activity and plays God by helping the needy and punishing the greedy: They can tell us about how regulations worked, human intervention in nature, environmental backlash, cultural pressures of the local populace on the coast, strengths and weaknesses of the industry and preparedness for famine or bounty. They need to be told about sustainability, protection of nurseries, changing environment, robustness of regulations, modern methods of supporting the activity, importance of networking beyond the local domain and faculty improvement of their staff.

Federal Government – controls policies and acts as the head God: They can tell us about the regulatory measures, international trade regime, international regulatory regime, national capacity of the activity and measures of community development. They are to be told about global environment & their local components, transferability of science to society, threats to industry and community and sustainability.

NGOs and volunteers – pick and grow on subtle issues, especially social: They can tell us about the quality of life on the coast, exploitation and corruption at various levels, illegal trade and mafia and the personal interests of different levels of population. They are to be given access to federal information, scientific information, programmes of sustainability and environmental information network.

Scientists – study the environment and resource: They can tell us about bioresource structure, environment & weather, temporal changes of coast & waters, mechanization of gear and craft, new technologies of information extraction and scientific meaning of preparedness. They must be told about local knowledge, information in the culture and folklore, market & social trends, practicability of transfer of knowledge, precision & accuracy needed for field operations and need to simplify scientific concepts.

In all the above, there are some common aspects like sustainability and environment. Similarly, there are a few things that are beyond the above like women’s empowerment, eradication of child labour, etc. that are a part of the coastal management and well within the ambit of communication responsibilities.

Now, turning back to wise practices, I would like to see ‘communication’ to be as cross sectoral and as multi disciplinary as above. This requires a network of large resource base or a talent to bring together various facilities that are existing nationally, regionally and internationally. Language of communication too is a dynamic variable ranging from computer softwares to local slang. What frightens me is the vastness and intricacies of communication but what fascinates me is that it is all possible today while slipping into another century.

Wise practice has to be all inclusive and comprehensive. Getting into grassroots is the name of the game.

Messages in This Thread


| View Thread | Return to Index | Read Prev Msg | Read Next Msg |