Grant Project to Focus on Communicating the Health Impacts of Climate Change

Earlier this month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation officially announced its 2009 Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research. Ten projects involving sixteen scholars from the country's top research universities were recipients of grants up to $335,000. For more on the program and awards, see this announcement. An abstract of our funded project on climate change communication is posted below.

Our research, in fact, is already well under way. This summer, with the help of several top class graduate students, we completed hour-long interviews with 70 Americans recruited from among 6 distinct audience segments. We are currently in the process of systematically analyzing these qualitative interviews. Later this year we will be in the field with an innovative national survey that tests the effects of different frames on climate change perceptions and behaviors. News on forthcoming studies and articles will be posted here.

Climate change poses a potentially significant threat to the public's health, and addressing it is among President Obama's top priorities. Edward W. Maibach, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor and director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, and Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D., assistant professor at American University's School of Communication, believe that citizens and stakeholders need to play an active role in formulating effective public policies and investments in greenhouse gas reduction. Their project, Mobilizing Citizen Support for Climate Stabilization and Adaptation Policies, investigates how best to engage Americans on climate control issues and analyzes the extent to which a health perspective can enlist community interest and participation. Through surveys and interviews, Drs. Maibach and Nisbet explore people's beliefs and motivations and test their reactions to various policy proposals and messages about climate change and its health implications. Their research findings could help galvanize the public health community and provide policy experts, government agencies, journalists, and other stakeholders with practical guidance on how best to increase public understanding of the implications of climate change.

Stress is contagious–but resilience can be too

The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.

Big Think Edge
  • Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
  • Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Think of the closest planet to Earth... Wrong! Think again!

Three scientists publish paper proving that not Venus but Mercury is the closest planet to Earth

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbour must be planet two of four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbour is... Mercury!
Keep reading Show less

Horseshoe crabs are captured for their blue blood. That practice will soon be over.

The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.

An Atlantic horseshoe crab in an aquarium. Photo: Domdomegg via Wikimedia Commons.
Surprising Science
  • Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
  • This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
  • Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
Keep reading Show less

10 novels that brilliantly capture the American experience

The distance between the American dream and reality is expressed best through literature.

American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin poses at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979. (Photo: Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Literature expands our ability to feel empathy and inspires compassion.
  • These ten novels tackle some facet of the American experience.
  • The list includes a fictional retelling of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard and hiding out in inner city Newark.
Keep reading Show less