Science Advocacy


Under Our Noses: PFAS Contamination in Southern Colorado

Rev. Ryan K. Nelson, , UCS

I was born an only child in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1979. My father, who is a retired military officer, moved us from coast-to-coast and across the country until we finally returned home in 1989. By the time I was 20, I had traveled and seen parts of the Western world that continue to enrich my life. However, Colorado has always held me safe, secure, and nestled in the Rocky Mountains as I continued to mature into adulthood. The quiet solitude the outdoors here provided me just as much ecological insight as scuba diving in the Grand Caymans or walking along the coasts of Hawaii. Now I’ve seen the delicate balance of nature in Colorado disrupted by devastating wildfires and operations from fracking plus other continued operations of big oil and gas.   Read more >

Photo: FEMA
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Photo: BLM Oregon

Scientists Advocating for Climate Action in Oregon: Why we are stepping up and speaking out

Sharon C Delcambre, PhD, Visiting Instructor of Environmental Studies, University of Portland; Frank D. Granshaw, PhD, adjunct faculty in Geology and University Studies, Portland State University, , UCS

We are two climate scientists, currently teaching about climate change at two universities in Portland, Oregon. We are also two concerned scientists who understand the severe threats that climate change is posing to human well-being, as well as two concerned parents (and one concerned grandfather) who are worried about the future of climate extremes that our children and grandchildren must bear. As members of the UCS Science Network, this year we have used our voices as scientists and experts to speak with Oregon state legislators and advocate for strong climate action in Oregon. Here are our stories.

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Photo: BLM Oregon
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Science and Democracy Fellows with trainers and fellows from COMPASS.

Managing the Work: Reflections on a year of science advocacy from the 2018 UCS Science and Democracy Fellows (Part 2)

Shri Verrill, Lindsay Wancour, Adrienne Keller, Tim Rafalaski, Emily Piontek, , UCS

Learning to be an effective science advocate isn’t just about developing advocacy skills and learning about science policy. It’s also learning about how you make advocacy a sustainable part of your life’s work. It’s easy to get frustrated, burnt out, and want to give up when change isn’t coming fast enough. Strategies for approaching advocacy in a thoughtful way can lead to more long-term gains and also make it feel less overwhelming. Read more >

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Drops, Ripples, Waves: Reflections on a year of science advocacy from the 2018 UCS Science and Democracy Fellows (Part 1)

Shri Verrill, Lindsay Wancour, Adrienne Keller, Tim Rafalaski, Emily Piontek, , UCS

In response to the increasing political attacks on science, in 2018 the Union of Concerned Scientists launched the Science and Democracy Fellowship to support scientists in becoming local advocacy leaders. We were selected for the inaugural six-month program to mobilize our local communities, in partnership with UCS, in confronting federal attacks on science.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore

6 Ways to Make Your Science Advocacy Effective at the State and Local Levels

Cassandra Barrett, Ph.D., , UCS

I’m a huge believer in the idea that to make a difference, you should start where you’re already at. For me, that’s a graduate student studying bioengineering in Arizona. Many of us start graduate school with grand plans that inevitably are cut to size by our advisor. It takes time to learn the tools to make an impact, so we start small by learning to be the best scientists and community members we can be in our own labs. Ultimately these small steps help us to leave graduate school with the skills and confidence to make that big impact we wanted to when we first started.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore
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