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

SS 23 - Using Best Science to Educate a Public Confused about Global Climate Change

Wednesday, August 4, 2010: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
413, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Kenneth M. Klemow
Catherine L. Cardelus , Leanne Jablonski and George A. Middendorf
The scientific community consensus is that anthropogenic global climate change (GCC) is a real phenomenon with potentially significant ecological and societal consequences. In contrast, Americans increasingly believe that GCC is not a serious problem. Too often, the science supporting GCC is ignored, considered an opinion, or distorted to suit the preconceptions of the deniers. Newspaper editorial pages and talk radio assail the objectivity of scientists and can delay action towards GCC solutions. Ecologists find themselves having to convince a confused and skeptical public about the reality of GCC. Those without research expertise in climatology or the ecological impacts of GCC can find it difficult to confront the arguments posed by the deniers. Yet, despite all these troubles, this is a teachable moment on both the nature of science and how proposed GCC solutions can promote sustainability and address environmental injustice. Tools based on sound science developed by experts in science communication and education are an asset. This session brings ecologists and the general public together with presenters selected from ESA meeting sessions. Panelists will identify and refute the most common myths surrounding GCC and its ecological consequences, and discuss sources of reliable scientific information to inform the public discourse. In an open discussion, attendees will explore experiences and effective strategies for educating the public on GCC and through brainstorming and tool-sharing, the session will address public misconceptions of GCC.
See more of: Special Session