End of Expertise & Politicizing Science: IGC Seminar Reflection Series

by Suwei Wang & Abby Lewis

Between September 20th and 27th, 2019, at least 4 million people from over 150 countries stepped up to support young climate strikers and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish environment activist, hit the headlines again. 

Thunberg began striking for action on climate change last year leading up to the Swedish parliamentary election. Her solitary strike from school has since transformed into an international movement of students ...

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What To Say And Whom To Say It To

by R. Bruce Hull and Paul Angermeier

Making global change science relevant and impactful often requires more than careful scholarship and robust methods.  It can also require getting that science to the people who matter and presenting it in ways that motivate those people to care and act.

As members of the Interfaces for Global Changecurriculum committee, we’re always seeking new, relevant material to use in the IGC seminars.  Here we summarize a few readings recently shared with us by conservation professionals. For more details, ...

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Why some protests are effective and others aren’t

From The Atlantic

On April 22, scientists and science enthusiasts will gather in Washington, D.C. and 480 other cities to march for science. Their numbers will likely be large and their signs will undoubtedly be nerdy. Much has been written about the march—whether it’s a good idea or a terrible one, whether it will rally people or distance them, whether it’s goals are acceptably varied or too diffuse, whether it cares ...

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March for Science is already successful

From The Guardian

Science teacher Jackie Scott will be in the streets this Saturday in Little Rock, Arkansas. “I march because my middle school students deserve to have a better world,” she wrote. “They deserve to see what real research looks like and sounds like when it is communicated.”

From Oklahoma to Greenland, scientists and their champions will gather on April 22 for the much anticipated March for Science. And in many ways, the event is already a success: because thousands of scientists are speaking up, millions of ...

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What Will You Do After Marching for Science?

By R. Bruce Hull

I explained why I’m not marching for science even though I’m “all-in” and support science with my heart, mind, and labor. Marching won’t change minds. Worse, because of Identity Protective Reasoning, marching will strengthen our critics’ resolve and weaken science’s influence. Every time we mention science or truth or climate or genes or funding or facts all we end up doing is triggering the critic’s internal dialog that blames loss of jobs, opportunity, and identity ...

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Why I Won’t March for Science

By Dr. Bruce Hull

I marched in DC at the Women’s March, but I’m not marching for science.  I don’t see the end game.  Yes, we need more science, more respect for science, and better science, but more so, we need to win the political battles, and that means fighting for hearts and minds.

Scientists using their science are ill equipped to win hearts and minds.  Sadly, as I argued previously, the tendency of scientists to rely on facts and ...

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Scientific Facts Don’t Win Arguments

By Dr. Bruce Hull

Do you want your science to influence global change? Don’t rely on facts.

Your facts are worthless because of something psychologists call the confirmation bias. The default psychological setting for most people is to search for and remember facts that confirm initial beliefs and ignore or forget unsupportive evidence. The web makes it easy for anyone to find the support they crave—alternative facts are just one click away from your scientific facts.

Worse, facts can be counterproductive because ...

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The End of Expertise: And Why That Is A Giant Problem for the Anthropocene

By Dr. Bruce Hull

Two game-changing coattails that Trump road to the presidency are fake news and distrusted expertise. They also usher into mainstream governance an end to rationality, modernity, enlightened self-interest, and related strategies and hopes that we can think our way out of the challenges we face. These are deeply troubling trends for those of us concerned with the highly technical, enormously complex, wickedly interdependent sustainability challenges of meeting the needs of 2-5 billion new middle class consumers while ...

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Opinion: Naomi Oreskes on Climate Concealment

From the New York Times

October 8, 2015-  MILLIONS of Americans once wanted to smoke. Then they came to understand how deadly tobacco products were. Tragically, that understanding was long delayed because the tobacco industry worked for decades to hide the truth, promoting a message of scientific uncertainty instead.

The same thing has happened with climate change, as Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization, has been reporting in a  Read More →

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Don’t stop explaining climate science

Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Even though it may feel like beating your head against the wall, take every opportunity to explain climate science to your friends, family, church members, students, and even the deniers you encounter on street corners. Kudos to the Interfaces of Global Change Program’s efforts to improve climate science communication.

Recently, 50 U.S. Senators voted “yea” on the following: “it is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity ...

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