Science, a Cartoon Contest, and a Top Ten List

, former deputy director, Center for Science & Democracy | June 25, 2012, 11:13 am EDT
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With the summer months come many things: the Washington Nationals (currently in first place!), longer days, sangria, and the opportunity to laugh out loud at my desk as I look at entries in our  annual editorial cartoon contest. The breakdown of the bonds between science and democracy isn’t exactly slapstick comedy, but editorial cartoons that poke fun at that problem can be pretty dang funny. So I sat down with one of our summer interns, Bridgewater State University student Manny Perez, to come up with the top ten reasons why you should enter the contest by the July 1 deadline:

10. Really important United States senators see these cartoons. Some of them, like Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, even tweet about them.

9. Sometimes being concerned means laughing. Even though we work for the Union of Concerned Scientists, our brows aren’t always furrowed. If my sister were writing this blog post, she’d point to a quote from the Indigo Girls: “Sometimes you have to laugh at yourself, ‘cause you’d cry your eyes out if you didn’t.”

8. You think you can do better than the winners in previous years. Check out some of the best cartoons from the past.

7. You recognize that artists should be compensated for their work. We’re offering $500 to each of the 12 finalists, and $1000 to the grand prize winner. And it costs nothing to enter.

6. You could benefit from some priceless promotion. Winning cartoons will be published in our 2013 UCS Editorial Cartoon Calendar and highlighted on this blog and the UCS website. We sell the calendar to support our work, and use it to connect with scientists, non-scientists, and policy makers throughout the United States.

5. We’ll sing your praises to your hometown newspapers. You want your mother to boast that you are a finalist in a national cartoon contest, don’t you?

4. Science and democracy matter. Here’s why.

3. You’ll be supporting the Union of Concerned Scientists. You already support our work intellectually and by taking UCS action alerts, and maybe you’re even a member. This is another way for you to help us tell the story of our work and advance our mission.

2. You can help us think in new ways. The relationship between science and democracy is complex, and the barriers that prevent science from fully informing policy decisions are even more so. We don’t have all the answers, and need new approaches to communicating challenges to science and democracy and solutions to them.

and the number one reason why you should enter the contest is:

1. Visual images can be much more powerful than words. Editorial cartoons are often much more effective at communicating abstract issues, and have the ability to start dialogue in a way that few 800-word essays can.   Just see this contest winner from a few years ago:


If you love art, science, democracy, or all three, enter today. The deadline is this Sunday, July 1. I promise you that we review—and enjoy—each and every entry.  With your help, we’ll be closer to another fine UCS cartoon calendar.

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