Kiribati is perhaps one of the most remote countries in the world. Despite its distance from the sources of environmental degradation, it will probably be the very first country to be destroyed by climate change. Most of the country, a collection of small islands spanning an area almost as large as the United States, lies less than 2 meters above sea level. Imagine having your entire country disappear beneath the waves during you lifetime.
Beyond that, this talk touches on the process of doing science and our responsibilities as scientists towards the nations where we collect our data. Many of us work in the developing world, collecting samples which will then be flow to our labs in the United States or the EU or other developed countries. For the most part, that is the end of our interaction. Do scientists have a responsibility to “give back” to the places they’ve collected their data? What is the extent of that responsibility?