Reflecting on the communication of science

This post was contributed by Nadine Lymn, ESA Public Affairs Director When the hacked Climatic Research Unit email story broke shortly before the Copenhagen climate summit, there seemed to be a collective groan of dismay and frustration in the scientific community.  Just when positive momentum appeared to be gathering for policymakers to address climate change, this had to happen, casting a pall on scientific credibility.  A number of...

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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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Should we “frame” climate change?

If we want to convince people to take action against global warming, maybe we need to take advice from advertising. A report by the nonprofit EcoAmerica, as reported by The New York Times in early May, suggests that terms like “greenhouse gas” and “carbon dioxide” turn people off.  Instead, they say, climate activists should change their rhetoric, emphasizing a “move away from dirty fuels of the...

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