95th ESA Annual Meeting (August 1 -- 6, 2010)

SYMP 3 - Environmental Scientists as Effective Advocates: Above the Din but in the Fray

Monday, August 2, 2010: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Blrm BC, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Steven P. Hamburg
Peter Frumhoff and Lisa A. Moore
Steven P. Hamburg
Environmental scientists often overestimate the policy impact of their research. Even dramatic, uncontroversial, and highly relevant research results that get accurate press coverage can have limited influence on policy decisions. Environmental scientists can often have much greater influence on policy by engaging directly in science-based advocacy, yet career paths and practices by which scientists can both engage in advocacy and maintain their credibility and standing within the scientific community are little discussed and poorly defined. The goal of this symposium is to generate awareness of the lack of established norms for effective environmental science advocacy and stimulate a broad conversation about what elements a successful science-based advocacy career for an ecologist might include. The speakers—a mix of young and established scientists with a diverse set of experiences in the research, advocacy, and policy worlds—will address the following questions: What would a well respected science-based advocacy career for ecologists look like? What are best practices for engaging in science-based advocacy from within the academy? Where do key policymakers get their scientific information, and how can we maximize the influence ecologists might have on policy? How can environmental scientists make their research more relevant to the policy realm at the local, national and international scale? Having each speaker address the same questions will create a conversation that includes the many voices that are needed to answer these questions. Synergies will be created through the retelling of the same story by people who bring a diverse set of experiences to the conversation.
1:35 PM
We need more scientist-advocates
Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Senate
2:25 PM
Contributing science-based advocacy without compromise
William H. Schlesinger, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
2:50 PM
3:25 PM
Bringing science to bear on environmental policies in a distracted age
Peter Frumhoff, Union of Concerned Scientists
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