Jessica Weir is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney. Jessica’s research engages with the social-cultural dimensions of environmental issues, and her publications span water management, bushfire aware planning, native title, weeds and climate change. Jessica has held positions Senior Research Fellow at the University of Canberra and Research Fellow at the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) where she founded the AIATSIS Land and Water Research Centre. Jessica is an editorial board member of the Routledge Environmental Humanities Book Series, and a Visiting Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.
There is a significant knowledge deficit concerning how science and other forms of knowledge are used and integrated into emergency management policy and practice, leading to incorrect and counterproductive misunderstandings. The emphasis on the value of scientific knowledge within the natural hazards sector – and particularly in regards to risk mitigation – is legitimate. However, to this point, this valuing of science has not been accompanied by research into the actual opportunities and challenges of using science in policy and practice.
This project, which has transitioned to its utilisation phase, has produced a number of journal articles documenting issues related to scientific uncertainty in bushfire and flood risk mitigation.
Attempts to anticipate and mitigate natural hazards have generated a diverse field of natural science that is drawn upon by a wide range of practitioners and decision-makers. Uncertainty is a necessary part of scientific practice, but how can we navigate it?
Two case studies from the north and south Australia examine how science is being used to change how we anticiate and mitigate natural hazards illustraate some common opportunities and challenges