THE LOKA INSTITUTE

  For Science and Technology of, by, & for the People

 

Welcome to Loka,
And Our Contact Information

 

Loka was founded in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1987 by Richard E. Sclove, author of Democracy and Technology. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit. Our mission is to promote broad public participation in science and technology decisionmaking so that science and technology become far more responsive to democratically decided social and environmental concerns.

OUR WORK:

We have a history of generating constructive ideas and catalyzing collaborations to move them forward.

Loka, for example, was an early and effective advocate for community-based research, and organized the international Community Research Network. We helped plan the first Citizen's Panel in the United States, started an online network for activists in science and technology fields, and coordinated a successful campaign for a Congressional mandate requiring federal nanotechnology planning to include "regular and ongoing" public input. That requirement was an unprecedented step in expanding the public's role in technology policymaking. Most recently, Loka is playing a major role in developing the innovative coalition, Expert & Citizen Asessment of Science & Technology (ECAST).

Since our Amherst days, Loka has moved through Washington D.C. and Texas to California, where we can be reached today. At this point, Loka operates without a dedicated office space. We retain, however, our mission-driven activism for a more democratic politics of technology and a committed network of supporters.

LOKA'S PERSPECTIVE:

Technologies affect everyday life and even the course of history as profoundly as do major laws and Constitutional amendments. Technological change, however, is now primarily driven by short-term considerations of profits and military gains.

Yet science and technology experts in government, business, and academe overwhelmingly assume that speeding up such change will generate broad benefits for everyone. They tend to disregard evidence that the benefits are unlikely to be fairly distributed — especially for marginalized communities. They also tend to downplay or ignore evidence that such change could generate negative environmental, social, and political effects as well — and that those are not likely to be fairly distributed, either.

Unfortunately, they also sit in most of the chairs at the table when decisions are made about research and technologies.

As a result, technical imagination and technical skills are often misdirected. Instead of serving our most pressing human needs, such as slowing climate change and ending hunger, our technological prowess too often becomes a source of new problems.

Loka works to expand involvement of everyday citizens and of public-interest, grassroots, and worker organizations in decisions about the design and use of research and technologies. They need their own seats at the table, if science and technology policies are to serve, rather than hamper, justice, wisdom, and democracy.

For more about our perspective, read our Vision Statement.

Meet Our Board of Trustees

 


 

TO CONTACT US:

Send emails to:
Loka@Loka.org

Address postal letters to:

The Loka Institute
c/o Politics
425 N. College Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711-6336