A moment of SCIENCE is Lined by SUPPORT
A SLM conversation with Kerry Flaherty Walia
Silver Lining Moments:
a space for conversations, feelings, and ideas that expand love and light
Scientists are silver linings for humanity. In a year filled with uncertainty, loss, and fear, they gave us guidance, confidence, and a plan forward. They gave us hope.
In the year of the pandemic, science has filled our screens and has become a part of our everyday lives. We have watched press conferences with scientists standing side by side with our leaders. We have read articles trying to understand the science behind Covid and the regulatory guidelines. We have seen research in action as vaccines were developed. With time, we began to see how we could and would overcome the hurdles thrown in front of us by Covid.
As we watched, read, and listened, we may not have understood all the data or research but one thing became crystal clear: scientists are an essential role in humanity’s survival. As we are jumping over the Covid hurdles, we see many more hurdles facing humanity– climate change, degradation of food quality and water purity, depletion of natural resources and energy – to name a few. Through their systematic research and investigation, collaborations, questioning and testing, scientists will discover and develop pathways for us to cross the hurdles before us. (Of course, we must all do our part too, including things like not fertilizing our lawns or using environmentally friendly fertilizers.) So yes, and as I said above, I will say it again:
Scientists are silver linings for humanity.
This is one of the reasons I asked Kerry Flaherty Walia* to be a guest of Silver Lining Moments. (That, and we share the same name, with the same spelling.) Kerry is a marine fisheries research scientist. She studies how the environment and humans are affecting fisheries and the fish population. From her research, guidelines and regulations can be implemented; and our actions and behaviors can be adjusted. Simply, her research helps us save the fisheries and fish for future generations.
In our conversation, we discuss:
- The day to day life of a marine fisheries research scientist,
- The importance of protecting our waters and fisheries for everyone and for future generations,
- The necessity of supporting policies and regulations that protect the environment and address climate change,
- The role of science and the scientific method in understanding and discovery,
- The igniting and sustaining power of having passion for what you do,
- The support she received from others as she began her career in science and the support she now gives to others,
- Being the only female scientist in the room or in the field,
- How she and a few friends started Women of Fisheries, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to supporting women in fisheries whose membership now spans over 40 countries, (here is the website: https://womenoffisheries.org), and
- One of her Silver Lining Moments.
One topic that Kerry and I have discussed in the past, which I wanted to ask her about during our SLM conversation but forgot, is the interplay between science and religion. Some people think that spirituality and science are mutually exclusive and place them at odds with each other. Given the prominent role they both play in society, I find this topic interesting and worthwhile for us to have. Therefore, I emailed Kerry and asked if she would share her thoughts. This is what she said:
“Since your podcast centers on love and light, that directly links to spirituality. As a scientist (specifically a biologist), sometimes people are surprised that I am also a Christian. I personally don’t think that the two are mutually exclusive. When I was a freshman at Florida State, my honors biology professor said something before he started the section on evolution that has always stuck with me. “Science explains the how, but God/faith/religion explains the why.” Science itself is not a belief system, it is a process of figuring out how things work based on evidence. Although he may not agree with my opinion, Neill deGrasse Tyson famously said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” For me, pursuing and applying knowledge of how biological processes work and evolve doesn’t negate faith in a higher power.”
This makes sense to me.
As I reflected on my conversation with Kerry, the word “support” came to mind, as it had come up throughout our conversation. I thought about – how science has supported humanity this past year, how Kerry’s work supports our natural resources for future generations, how having the support from others, and being the support for others, are key to our shared human experience. From my conversation with Kerry, I realize how:
a moment of SCIENCE is lined by SUPPORT.
Thank you for listening to Silver Lining Moments.
By Kerry sharing and by you listening, together we are:
expanding love and light,
one person at a time,
one story at a time,
one Silver Lining Moment at a time.
*The opinions expressed by Kerry in our conversation are her own and don’t reflect the beliefs or policies of her employer.