Category: Communicating science

The People’s Scientist: Dr. Esther Ngumbi Makes Science Accessible

Read the full story at Diverse Education.

Dr. Esther Ngumbi began her life’s work as a child alongside a river in rural Kenya.

At just seven years old, Ngumbi wanted a hand at farming, so her parents gave her a small strip of land near the river that she could plant cabbage on. Though her parents were both passionate educators, their incomes from teaching alone could not sustain her immediate and extended family, so her parents supplemented their earnings through farming. 

Ngumbi would tend to her cabbages each day and often help her parents farm, watching as the crops sprouted from the soil, hopeful and green. But then, “halfway through the season, insects would come and go through our crops, and sometimes what insects hadn’t taken away, drought would,” says Ngumbi, now an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I would watch this as a kid. A lot of our hard work — waking up in the morning and going to the farm — would be eaten by insects.” 

The agricultural problems facing her family were not unique but were endemic to other farmers in her community, and she realized this early on. Even from a young age, Ngumbi wanted to know what the insects were and how farmers could control them. She wanted a career that could help her community grow plentiful food amid challenging circumstances and a changing climate. 

We Are Living in a Climate Emergency, and We’re Going to Say So

Read the full opinion piece in Scientific American.

Given the circumstances, Scientific American has agreed with major news outlets worldwide to start using the term “climate emergency” in its coverage of climate change. An official statement about this decision, and the impact we hope it can have throughout the media landscape, is below.

Meet the Climate Change Activists of TikTok

Read the full story in Wired.

A crop of eco-creators is bent on educating their followers about the looming global disaster. Can their message translate into action?

Predicting the Importance of Global Warming as a Voting Issue Among Registered Voters in the United States

Eryn Campbell, John Kotcher, Edward Maibach, Seth A. Rosenthal, Anthony Leiserowitz (2021). “Predicting the Importance of Global Warming as a Voting Issue Among Registered Voters in the United States.” Current Research in Ecological and Social Psychology.

Abstract: Limiting climate change requires effective policy solutions. In democratic societies, voting for candidates who support climate policy solutions is arguably the most important action citizens can take. Therefore, understanding the dynamics of global warming as a voting issue is crucial for building public and political will for climate solutions. Using data from two nationally representative surveys conducted in November 2019 and April 2020, this exploratory study investigated the influences of cognitive, experiential, socio-cultural, and sociodemographic factors on two measures of perceived importance of global warming as a voting issue: absolute importance (i.e., how important is it?) and relative importance (i.e., is it the most important issue?). As expected, in both surveys, Democrats were more likely than Republicans to perceive global warming as an important voting issue. The perceived importance of global warming as a voting issue was also positively associated with certainty in belief that global warming is happening, perceived risk, worry, positive social norms, and discussing global warming with family and friends; in April 2020, it was also negatively associated with exposure to conservative media (The Fox News Channel). In both surveys, discussing global warming with family and friends was positively associated with considering global warming to be the most important voting issue, whereas perceived personal experience and worry were significant predictors in only one survey. These results suggest that global warming’s importance as a voting issue is influenced by a range of individual, social, and media influences, and that the predictors of the issue’s absolute importance to voters overlap only partially with the predictors of its relative importance.

Health Professionals and the Climate Crisis: Trusted Voices, Essential Roles

Maibach, E., Frumkin, H. and Ahdoot, S. (2021). “Health Professionals and the Climate Crisis: Trusted Voices, Essential Roles.” World Medical & Health Policy 13, 137-145.

Abstract: Climate change has triggered a global public health emergency that, unless adequately addressed, is likely to become a multigenerational public health catastrophe. The policy actions needed to limit global warming deliver a wide range of public health benefits above and beyond those that will result from limiting climate change. Moreover, these health benefits are immediate and local, addressing one of the most vexing challenges of climate solutions: that the benefits of greenhouse gas reduction are seen as long‐term and global, which are remote from the concerns of many jurisdictions. In this commentary, we identify roles that health professionals and health organizations can play, individually and collectively, to advance equitable climate and health policies in their communities, health systems, states, and nations. Ultimately, health voices can work across national boundaries to influence the world’s commitments to the Paris Agreement, arguably the world’s most important public health goal.

Daily Mail owner buys New Scientist magazine in £70m deal

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The publisher of the Daily Mail has acquired the renowned weekly science and technology magazine New Scientist in a £70m cash deal – the latest round of consolidation in the publishing sector.

Using soil to make art

Read the full story at Smithsonian Magazine.

Geologists in California and Wyoming use unique palettes to teach science.

Russian academics decry law change that threatens scientific outreach

Read the full story in Nature.

Researchers say that a proposed amendment could impede collaboration with foreign speakers and scientific literacy.

Female scientists focus on a secret weapon to fight climate change: Moms

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

A new group of parent scientists is launching Science Moms, a $10 million educational campaign to engage other mothers

BrewDog told to limit ‘F**k you CO2’ advertising after complaints

Read the full story in Beverage Daily.

The UK’s advertising watchdog has told maverick Scottish craft brewer BrewDog to rein in use of its ‘F**k you CO2’ tagline when advertising its new carbon negative status.

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