Presentation at AGU Meeting
Dr. John Abraham and I will be speaking at the 2010 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting. The abstract appears below. We hope to see you there.
|An Emerging Ethic of Responsibility: A Case Study for Engaging the Public
S. A. Mandia1, 2; J. A. Abraham3
1. Physical Sciences, Suffolk County Comm. College, Selden, NY, United States.
2. Education Project Advisory Board, Center for Communicating Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, United States.
3. School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, United States.
Recent trends in the public’s understanding of climate change have diverged from the broad, and well-documented consensus held by scientists. While the level of consensus regarding climate change among scientists is very high, the public remains deeply divided. Furthermore, a large percentage of the general public perceives that a serious debate exists within the science community on the basic theory of anthropogenic climate change. This disconnect between the scientific community and the general public should motivate scientists to take a more active role in public outreach.
Recent stories in the media have increased the public’s resistance to climate change. Included here are Climategate, mistakes in the IPCC regarding Himalayan glacial melt, and other reports (inaccurately reported) about IPCC errors related to the sensitivity of the Amazon rainforest to a changing climate. Along with these stories, there has been a well-documented increase in activism by “skeptical scientists” and by “skeptical non-scientists” to engage the public with a goal of promoting the perception of a serious debate within the science community.Also during the past few years, a number of scientists who have taken an active role in educating the general public have come under political, scientific, and personal pressure. The resistance exerted on scientists who become public educators has caused many scientists to avoid outreach efforts.
Here, the authors present a case study for a successful effort to engage the public on the issue of climate change. We utilized a number of media methods to cause a significant impact on the public discussion of global warming. In addition, the effort has begun to affect legislative processes within the United States and abroad. The authors present this case study to provide a roadmap to colleagues who wish to participate in public outreach.