Science, Development and Integrality

Photo by Antonio Janeski on Unsplash

This integral awareness will promote a science more awake to the needs outside its academic walls, where its transference will be an excellent influence for Development in the various domains.

Carlos Barros

On 10 November is celebrated the World Science Day for Peace and Development[1]. This event, promoted by UNESCO, began in the outset of the 21st century to remind us of the impact that science (and academia) brings to building a better world.

On the one hand, it is true that science per se, with its various ramifications of areas, specialities, methodologies and cumulative knowledge, aims to develop and increase the well-being of all people and beings. On the other hand, it is important to bring science outside the academic “walls” and apply its potential for social observance. So it becomes increasingly of observation-intervention. Let’s see:

Science is the central development pillar of society(ies) and the way it manages and interacts with technology, combines the cumulative character of knowledge that has greatly leveraged evolution and development in all areas.

This year, the importance of respect for the environment and the development of Sustainable Development Goals is highlighted[2]. It is, in my view, the moment to reflect in two stages:

  1. our relationship with the environment. Are we promoters of sustainability vs. imbalance? Our behaviour at micro or macrosocial level influences not only the environmental balance, but also the promotion of non-formal education, which we should encourage among older and younger generations;
  2. the environment is part of the whole of having a “common home” where we can have quality of life, create a stable space – not only in climate but also socially way- where we want the next generations to be able to grow and develop their potential. This is possible through observing and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For the development of the SDGs it is important to highlight our behaviour and attitudes towards the world. Our behaviour and attitudes are important to create a healthy physical and psychological lifestyle; social cohesion for perceived security and solidarity; and to promote connection between various people and cultures.

It may seem that this text proposes a responsibility based on the person – Individual Being – but the proposal is that we can ‘see’ ourselves as beings inserted in systems.

As described in Brofenbrenner’s ecological and systemic approach[3], “development as a complex system of relationships affected by multiple levels of the surrounding environment, from immediate settings of family and school to broad cultural values, laws, and customs” (Guy-Evans, 2020).

Although this approach was initially applied in Child Development Psychology studies, which explained that the child was influenced by the various systems surrounding him or herself and his or her environment, it is now extended to psychosocial interaction throughout life and in all contexts.

Representation of Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological model

We, individual beings, have personal characteristics, we are influenced by the most immediate sphere of action (e.g. our family and friends), but we are influenced – albeit increasingly indirectly – by behaviours and attitudes in more distant systems (e.g. health systems or educational curricula), which in turn are embedded in a larger system: that of social values and norms (e.g. social policies and cultural values of a given society).

Of course, we cannot overlook the importance of time and how it affects these dynamics – the perception we have of climate now will certainly be different from the people who began to notice this problem in the last century. The innovative factor of this approach is consistent in taking into account that we are not only elements influenced by contexts, but we are also the influence of each person and each system.[4]

The impact that scientists, politicians, professors, educators and social managers have in using their voice to create and be a positive influence in the systems where they participate is considered. This integral awareness will promote a science more awake to the needs outside its academic walls, where its transference will be an excellent influence for Development in the various domains.[5]

Note: If you are a researcher and intend to implement work in the area of Integral Human Development, learn more about the opening of scholarship applications for the Post-Doctoral Programme here


[1] https://eurocid.mne.gov.pt/eventos/dia-mundial-da-ciencia-pela-paz-e-o-desenvolvimento-2021

[2] https://www.unesco.org/en/days/science-peace-development#2022

[3] Guy-Evans, O. (2020). Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. https://www. simplypsychology.org/Bronfenbrenner.html

[4] Eriksson, M., Ghazinour, M., & Hammarström, A. (2018). Different uses of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory in public mental health research: what is their value for guiding public mental health policy and practice? Social Theory & Health, 16(4), 414-433.

[5] Costanza, R., Fisher, B., Ali, S., Beer, C., Bond, L., Boumans, R., & Snapp, R. (2007). Quality of life: An approach integrating opportunities, human needs, and subjective well-being. Ecological economics, 61(2-3), 267-276.


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**Please find the portuguese version on the next page

**Por favor, aceda à próxima página para a versão portuguesa da publicação 



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