Anna Oposa is AMAZING! She is one of the few people I know who’s written a letter to the government and had the government write back*! That’s not really the main reason – she’s doing excellent work on marine protection in the Philippines, at the ripe old age of 25 btw – and I had the real pleasure of meeting her last week. She’s dynamic and full of positive energy and humour – gave one of the funniest presentations I’ve ever seen! – and is not afraid to ask questions. That last point is the biggest takeaway for me: Stay curious and don’t be scared to ask questions.
My supervisor was “shocked” (his word) that she wasn’t familiar with Fukushima or Chernobyl. I, on the other hand, am impressed and grateful that she has the guts to admit gaps in her knowledge and the courage to ask questions. One of the reasons why I’m still floundering in the department I work in is because, despite working with ‘experts’ in the issues I am shaky on and really need to brush up on, I am reluctant to ask my colleagues for fear of exposing how big my knowledge gaps are.
That’s why I am scared to death of participating in content-related discussions. I am essentially the same audience that I am supposed to be an expert for… does that make sense? Here’s an example: I want to know whether renewables can adequately cover baseload power. But I am afraid to ask my colleagues because this is really something basic, something I should know already, something I should be able to explain to others. I do recognise that a big part of overcoming these gaps is sheer bloody hard work – reading, reading, reading. Sigh.
*with an invitation to join the discussions, not the write-off “we appreciate your concern and your minister is working tirelessly on this issue” replies that I receive!