NY Times Tests Our Literacy on Climate Change
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."
Last week I posted on the "Misunderstood Meanings of Science Literacy," noting that scientists, policymakers, and journalists tend to narrowly focus on the recall of facts about science as the most important dimension of knowledge. Usually this dimension of knowledge is tested in quiz like survey questions.
In the paper's monthly Education section, the NY Times provides just such an example, asking several scientists to provide questions for readers.
Yet why is the most important thing to know about climate change defined exclusively in terms of science? Why not ask experts who study the social, political, and policy dimensions of the debate to provide a similar set of questions tapping the public's knowledge of, for example, the trade offs between an emissions system and a carbon tax? Or Bush's position on the Kyoto treaty? Or the difference between mitigation and adaptation policies? Or the connection between energy policy and climate change? Or even the identification of the chief regulatory and political institutions charged with dealing with climate change nationally and internationally?
A new study shows choosing to be active is a lot of work for our brains. Here are some ways to make it easier.
There's no shortage of science suggesting that exercise is good for your mental as well as your physical health — and yet for many of us, incorporating exercise into our daily routines remains a struggle. A new study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, asks why. Shouldn't it be easier to take on a habit that is so good for us?
A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.
Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you.
The stories we tell define history. So who gets the mic in America?
- History is written by lions. But it's also recorded by lambs.
- In order to understand American history, we need to look at the events of the past as more prismatic than the narrative given to us in high school textbooks.
- Including different voices can paint a more full and vibrant portrait of America. Which is why more walks of American life can and should be storytellers.
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