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Climate Change Is Boring

Guest Bogger

Dr. Rod Lamberts, Deputy Director
Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science

Canberra, Australia

When it comes to climate change, I’m pretty sure there are really only three types of people. Those who believe we’re buggering things up, those who don’t believe we’re buggering things up, and those who don’t know (and maybe don’t give a toss) either way.

Sure there are sub-groups, cliques and factions, but these are the big three. And nowadays it’s clear to me they all have one fundamental thing in common. For all these groups, hearing more science information about climate change makes no practical difference. The acceptors keep accepting, the deniers keep denying, and the ‘meh’ crowd keep on meh-ing.

So why are we still spraying the media waves with public communications full of climate science? Read More

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Humanity’s “Need” for “Food” in 2050

Perhaps the most viral meme in the discussion about global food and agriculture has been that we will need to produce at least 60% more food in 2050. This statement has been repeated hundreds and perhaps thousands of times in the past decade, often as the introduction to articles, speeches and web postings explaining why it’s necessary to raise agricultural production, whether by using GMOs, clearing forests, or totally revolutionizing the global food system.

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Not Just Another Powerpoint: More Tips to Bring Presentations to Life

Guest Bogger

Andrew Gunther, Executive Director, Center for Ecosystem Management & Restoration
Marcia DeLonge, Agroecologist, Union of Concerned Scientists

Scientists are trained to leave ourselves out of our work—to leave passion at the door, and let objectivity guide us. This makes for great science, but can make for boring presentations. On a recent Science Network webinar, we shared guidelines and examples of how to give engaging, compelling, yet scientifically accurate presentations. Read More

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“The Coke Side of Life”—More Sugar, Less Science

Almost 130 years ago, Coca-Cola first quenched Americans’ thirst and splashed its irresistible blend of sugar and, yes, cocaine, across our taste buds and brains. “Drink Coca-Cola and enjoy it” said the company’s first ad slogan.  Since then, addiction and advertising have gone hand in hand to convince us that Coke is, as a 1985 ad spun it, “America’s real choice.” Read More

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Community Connections: Scientist-Citizens Have a Critical Role to Play

Many community organizations struggle to be heard in our noisy democracy. Even on critical issues such as air and water quality, health hazards from chemicals, local food policy, environmental justice for disadvantaged communities, and the rising challenges of global warming, their voices and needs are often drowned out by those who argue that addressing public health, safety and the environment is too expensive. That those concerns get in the way of economic growth. And too often, the views of community organizations are dismissed because their arguments are not framed in technical terms. Read More

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Communicating Science: Barriers Journalists Face at Government Agencies

Transparency invigorates a strong democracy. It inspires trust and spurs citizens to hold their leaders accountable. As citizens, we have the right to know about the scientific information shaping the policies that affect our health, our safety, and the environment, and our government has a responsibility to share this information openly. Read More

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How to Prepare for Sea Level Rise: Follow New Hampshire’s Lead

New Hampshire has the nation’s shortest coastline, at less than 20 miles, but don’t let that statistic fool you: when scientists count its bays, tidal rivers, and salt marshes, they tally more than 230 miles of so-called inland tidal shoreline. These areas are vitally important for New Hampshire’s economy, especially when it comes to tourism and shipping. They’re also vulnerable to coastal flooding, which is why the state is using the best available science to plan for the future, including rising seas. Read More

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Esquire Falls into the Despondency Trap—We’re Not “F’d” on Climate Change

John H. Richardson has published a despairing profile of climate researchers in Esquire, where he examines the existential dread they sometimes feel as they study the effects of industrial carbon burning. In particular, he focuses on Jason Box, a climate researcher whose blunt Twitter message went viral last year: Read More

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Exxon Responds to Revelation that Company Recognized Climate Risks as Early as 1981

The Union of Concerned Scientists broke the news yesterday that Exxon employees were considering how climate change should factor into decisions about new fossil fuel extraction as early as 1981. The reactions, especially from ExxonMobil, have been as interesting as the original revelation. Read More

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What Does the Pope’s Climate Encyclical Mean?

Pope Francis released his much-anticipated encyclical on humans’ stewardship of our planet earlier today. While my colleagues and I spend most of our time talking about science and policy, the pope’s message has given us an opportunity to reflect on our own moral reasoning around climate and energy issues as well as the intersection of faith and science.

Update, June 23: My colleague Mike Jacobs, a senior energy analyst, added his thoughts in a separate post about Pope Francis’s plug for electric co-cops and other clean energy issues in the encyclical. Read More

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