In letter at Science, a focus on framing, religion, and climate
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."
As we argue in our Framing Science thesis, in order to engage a religiously diverse public on pressing problems like climate change, it's important to offer positive and personally meaningful messages.
Our argument is cited and repeated today in a letter in the latest issue of Science written by Portland University biologist Steven A. Kolmes and theologian Russel A. Butkus. Here's a portion of the letter, my own emphasis included.
and Climate Change
A MOMENT OF AGREEMENT HAS ARRIVED FOR scientists to join forces with religious groups on issues of climate change. This is signaled by the summary for policy-makers from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC)'s Fourth Assessment Report, the AAAS Board's consensus statement on climate change, and the unanimity of scientists (1). LynnWhite Jr. proposed in these pages in 1967 that (2) "we shall continue to have a worsening ecologic [sic] crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man."
In their Policy Forum "Framing science" (6 Apr.,p. 56), M. C. Nisbet and C. Mooney mention the more contemporary and less divisive efforts of some evangelical leaders to frame "the problem of climate change as a matter of religious morality." As faculty members at a Catholic university, we know the strong stance of Catholic documents on good science as the foundation for discussions of climate change....Additional reflections on climate change have come from numerous religious traditions. They are listening carefully to the science. Scientists ought to be in dialogue with them.