"I think sustainability will make everyone happy."

Posted in: Comment, Talks and Presentations

You can still come across poor presentations at conferences, and often these are not because of incompetence, but owing to a poor attitude towards the audience, one that is frequently rooted in insecurity.

I sat through an ECER presentation of this sort where the quote at the head of this post is taken from.  I think it was about speciesism, and the liberation of plants, animals etc, from human exploitation and bondage, and the role of education in this.  Chickens got a mention, as did cows.  It was certainly about giving ants the franchise, and judging by the general level of nonsense that came forth, probably the Ebola virus as well.  

The speaker, spoke for the downtrodden of the earth, no matter how many legs they had, or whether they had legs at all.  Rarely had so many of the masses had their day.  It was not clear how the ants had provided a mandate for the speaker to talk on their behalf – or, indeed, whether they had. It hardly mattered, as the ants, of course, will likely have the last word, anyway.

In public policy terms it was not clear what the implications of such an vacuous eco-centric stance would be. I presume that all research to generate antibiotics would have to stop, and perhaps even that our remaining stockpiles of the smallpox virus would have to be returned to the wild so they could be free to fulfil their dreams and aspirations. Otherwise, it just looks like yet another form of tried and trusted anthropocentrism.

It was an incoherent and arrogant rant, and even an attack on Wals & Jickling did nothing to win me over.  The self-indulgent insult to the audience was made worse by an unwillingness to respond to serious questions raised.

"Badly done, Emma.  Badly done."

Posted in: Comment, Talks and Presentations


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