Solutions from science

Zoe Jacobs is part of the SOLSTICE team who use high-tech science to help local communities in East and South Africa.

SOLSTICE is a UK-based research team working with communities in East and South Africa to help create more sustainable, environmentally friendly solutions.

Regional problems such as overfishing and a changing climate have made life tough for local people. SOLTICE creates information to help local people be more sustainable and more secure.

Zoe, an ocean scientist, works to ensure that science has direct benefits for people,

‘I think solution-based science is probably the only science worth doing, otherwise, what are we doing it for?’ she says.

Local knowledge for local solutions

Zoe and the SOLSTICE Team use local knowledge and information to guide their scientific research. For example, changing ocean currents influence where fish might be at certain times of the year. Local people need to know these changes to help feed people and sustain livelihoods.

The SOLSTICE Team uses high-tech ocean monitoring equipment and mathematical modelling to work out where fish might be at certain times of the year. This has meant fishing communities can be better prepared during peak and off-peak fishing seasons.

‘’I think looking at livelihoods and food security is the way to help societies that directly rely on the ocean,’ Zoe tells us.

Women scientists leading the way

The project is focussed on getting more young people into science, particularly young women.

Women are under-represented in science and academia around the world, but in East and South Africa it is particularly apparent. Societal expectations and cultural practices create significant barriers to entry for young women.

SOLSTICE is trying to address this by diversifying the scientific community.

They have recently taken on 10 young female scientists to be trained and educated to be the oceanographers of the future.

Science for all

‘I think if scientists can communicate their science better to the general public, and show how important it is, we can galvanise the passion of young people and make a change,” Zoe tells us.

Science doesn’t have to be complicated. There are ways we can all get involved.

Look at our Action page [link] to see science projects you can get involved in. Some are as simple as taking a photo on your phone.

Get involved and take action.

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