The art of communicating climate change

This post was contributed by Piper Corp, ESA Science Policy Analyst   London-based writer and philosopher Alain de Botton recently shared his thoughts on the environment. In a UN Chronicle essay, de Botton says that climate change is different from threats we’ve faced in the past—whether natural disasters or nuclear warfare—in that it is neither outside our control nor a result of deliberate action. The product of the day-to-day...

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A Conference about Water and Ecology

Nancy Grimm welcomes attendees to the first ESA Millennium Conference. ESA’s first Millennium Conference kicked off today in Athens, GA. The meeting is bringing together ecologists and social scientists to engage in conversations about one of the most dramatic emerging challenges in ecology: that of clean water and water scarcity.  While ecologists’ main expertise is in providing and maintaining adequate water for healthy...

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The Royal Society’s geoengineering report

Here’s another one of those examples where the link between scientists and the public can break down, leading to conflicting or erroneous reports. As reported by the Nature blog The Great Beyond, when the Royal Society released a report on climate geoengineering earlier this week, reporters were scratching their heads about the take-home message from the report.  The British coverage was across the map, ranging from Boffins:...

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Farewell, ESA Meeting 2009

As ESA’s Annual Meeting drew to a close today and the city of Albuquerque breathed a sigh of relief — now there might be places for locals to sit in a restaurant! — the echoes of the meeting were just beginning.  Scientific meetings are a place to bring together scientists from myriad subfields: in the case of ecology, from biogeochemistry to microbial ecology to agroforestry to physiological ecology…and the...

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Why to talk to the media: Turtle edition

Academics are like turtles, pulling their heads in when reporters come knocking. An article in last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education has the best metaphor for this syndrome that I’ve heard: Scientists become turtles. They’re discouraged from media relations, and thus never get better at it, and they don’t think it’s their job.  As author Michael Munger, professor of political science at Duke...

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Evolution at its finest: Plant roots in snow

Ecologists have discovered yet another astonishing way that plants defy all manner of physical obstacles to get what they need. Researchers have discovered alpine plant roots that grow upwards, against gravity, and out of the soil…into the snow. A group of researchers centered at VU University in Amsterdam discovered the plant roots high in the mountains of southern Russia. The plant, Corydalis conorhiza, is in what’s...

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