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17 reasons to come together





Image source: ‘Earthrise’, taken on December 24, 1968, by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders

Headlines, public discourse, even corporate positioning thrive on negative emotions. It’s a human trait to seek out negativity: negativity bias is real.

It’s the bad news that gets the clicks, with Nature reporting that each additional negative word in a headline of average length increases the click-through rate by 2.3%, and it’s getting worse — a study has found that the percentage change in the average sentiment of headlines from the year 2000 to the year 2019 is -314%.

It’s an understandable impulse, then, when pushing for change in our world, to dial up the negativity. What hope do you have of raising attention for your cause, if you don’t?

The problem is, it doesn’t always help fix the problems we’re trying to solve.

The big, global challenges we face — and in our borderless world, challenges are global by nature — can’t be solved by shouting down an adversary. They can’t be solved with a simple, binary distinction between the good (us) and the bad (them). And they can’t be solved unilaterally.

Hence the 17 reasons to come together.

When the UN created its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it recognised that our most pressing global challenges can only be solved through collaboration. The SDGs are a catalogue of vast issues, such as goal #1, ‘ending poverty in all its forms everywhere’, or goal #8, ‘taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts’’.

The UN SDGs are insurmountable by entities acting alone — and this is deliberate. Collaboration across disciplines, borders and methods is baked in.

In her book ‘Mission Economy’, UCL’s Professor Mariana Mazzucato writes about “collaboration on a large scale between public and private entities” as the path to fixing the challenges that threaten our sustainable future. Mazzucato adds that involvement by the citizenry — the general public — is also key to success. The big fixes don’t just happen above our heads, and they can’t happen without our support.

Science is fundamental to finding the means to fixing the big challenges. That’s what we fervently believe here at Science Card.

Collaboration in scientific research makes breakthroughs more likely, but in order for this to happen research requires funding too — in the UK alone, the deficit between research income and the cost of research was £4bn in 2019–20. We’re building an ecosystem that connects science and financial services, enabling anyone to support scientific research, and getting funding to the researchers, fast.

Collaboration is the secret sauce here. To build a sustainable future, to really shift the dial, we — businesses, public bodies, researchers — must work together, not against each other.

Part of this togetherness is recognising that we’ve got a shared goal — different agendas and different approaches, perhaps — and that every entity’s step towards that goal is a step in the right direction. Positivity is one of Science Card’s principles.

There will always be bad actors, there will always be greenwash — and the debate continues on whether it’s better to encourage a bad actor to change their habits, or shame them into doing so.

But at Science Card we believe that society has the means to solve the great challenges we face. Ultimately, for those of us on a mission to make a positive change, there’s room for us all.

Join us.