The DC Metro Science for the People proclaims themselves as the only still active Science for the People group. The panel was composed of Jane Zara, John Tharakan, and David Schwartzman who discussed different projects of interest to the DC Metro SftP and the greater -DC area.
John Tharakan opened the panel by retelling the story of Easter Island as an important example of the concept of appropriate resources. In his words, “Resources are, of coarse, finite but…. our capacity to exploit the environments in in fact, quite infinite”. Tharakan challenges the way that we, in the west, consume energy and how development is no longer produced to satisfy the community’s needs but rather towards the development of capital. Meanwhile, large numbers of the global population is struggles to meet the community’s needs of water, electricity, waste removal and access to the internet. Tharakan argues that the first step towards meeting these needs is to “re-engineer engineer and technology education” Lastly, he stressed the importance of using technology to empower local communities to flourish by trusting the community to use those resources for the benefit of the community.
Jane Zara introduced us about the U.S. patent system in which Zara warns of the corporate influence in the government from patent laws. Particularly, she focuses on the dangers of patents owned by Biotech companies (like those owned by Monsanto). Creating a burden on farmers, to purchase GE seeds and herbicides from biotech companies. Lastly, she expresses hope through the right of compulsory licensing by the US Federal Government in cases of national importance.
David Schwartzman completed the panel by detailing an issue highly relevant to citizens of the DC Metro area. The impending development of the McMillan Park Reservoir is of prominent debate among DC metro citizens, many of which have expressed a desire for the area to be of community use rather than for corporate development. Although the Friends of McMillan project is not a SFTP movement, may members re highly involved in the movement.