Framing Science from Rome, Italy: Climate Change Communication in Urban Environments
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
I am in Italy until Wednesday of next week participating in an expert workshop on the scientific and societal dimensions of climate change. Organized by the Earth Institute's Urban Design Lab at Columbia University and the Adriano Olivetti Foundation, the workshop will turn into an edited volume released as part of the Ecopolis conference to be held in Rome in April, 2009.
The workshop features experts analyzing almost every major dimension of climate change. I am on a panel that kicks the workshop off by focusing on "Politics, Public Opinion, and Communication." Here are the questions that were posed to me in advance and that I will eventually be crafting a paper around:
What we are hoping that you can explore is the public communication side of the climate-change phenomenon; and its role in adaptation strategies. This of course begs the question as to whether or not public opinion is important at all, and if the growing immediacy of the problem will require a more drastic approach rather than normative "consensus-building." In other words, are we at a different kind of communication crossroads, in comparison to smoking bans, stem cell ethics, and other recent science policy debates? In this regard, because our focus is on the "urban," would you see important distinctions between urban and other contexts? Is there something different about this kind of science? And if, indeed, this kind of science is producing public consensus - as your work seems to indicate, what is lacking on the public side of the equation? In this regard could we get into the power politics side? And in what capacity do you see the formation of global capital as a cause or effect in terms of unified strategies for climate change communication? On a big hypothetical, if all were to be a "go" in terms of mitigation and adaptation, with huge global resources at the ready, where might it best be deployed - or better stated, where are the huge gaps in knowledge and technique?
These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.
We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.
Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.
For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.