Four experts on biodiversity, who are currently faculty members of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Philippines and UST Chile delivered lectures during the first Science, Technology and Society (STS) Summit and the first UST Chile-UST (Manila) Philippines Joint Symposium with the theme “Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management in the time of change” held on April 20, 2021.
They shared their interdisciplinary approaches in using science-based pieces of evidence to address social issues related to biodiversity.
Speakers from UST Philippines were Prof. Cecilia B. Moran and Asst. Prof. Richard Thomas B. Pavia Jr., Ph.D. Moran delivered a lecture on her recently concluded biodiversity assessment project in the Del Carmen Mangrove Ecosystem in Siargao Island as it bid to become one of the country’s RAMSAR sites. Pavia, meanwhile, discussed Coral Reef Management Strategies in the Age of Climate Change.
The two speakers from UST Chile were Prof. Rodrigo Estevéz and Prof. Fabio Labra. Estevez delivered a talk about the usage of multi-criteria decision analysis as a tool in conserving marine habitats in Chile, while Labra shared how earth observation systems and GIS technology can be used to alleviate invasive macrophyte problem in the Rio Cruces wetlands.
In 2018, UST (Manila) started to offer Science, Technology, and Society (STS) as a course under the General Education curriculum to inculcate science appreciation among the students, especially on how science and scientific skills can be used to address pertinent social issues of this generation.
What makes the STS offering of UST unique is that it is anchored on the teachings of Pope Francis in his encyclical, Laudato Si’ which champions the care for our planet.
This milestone led by the team of organizers of the STS summit did not only foster collaboration between the two UST institutions but also inculcated the scientific values of working with nature to conserve biodiversity and align it with the needs of the society.