Revkin on the Fog of Climate Policy and Going Beyond Like Minded Conversations
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."
Over at the NY Times' Dot Earth blog, Andrew Revkin has launched a conversation with his readers on the challenge of navigating the many emerging arguments and claims about climate policy, with Revkin emphasizing the need to engage with a range of ideas and perspectives about what should be done. As I wrote about a few weeks back, if as a society we only engage with narrowly like-minded opinions and perspectives, we will lose the ability to build consensus and achieve effective policy actions.
Unfortunately, as Revkin alludes to, the dominant style among several prominent progressive bloggers is to continue to paint climate policy debates in terms of battles, wars, good guys and bad guys, pro-science versus anti-science, and deniers versus champions.
You either agree with the blogger on a narrow course of action or you are among the enemy. Indeed, it seems the Bush administration has radicalized an entire generation of thinkers on the self-described progressive side who now apply their "war" mentality to anyone who might disagree with them, even though they share the same ultimate goals and values. It makes you wonder, as Roger Pielke points out, if these bloggers have lost sight of the meaning of "progressive."
It also reminds me of the reaction from several bloggers to the 2007 Science article on framing and science communication. When Chris Mooney and I suggested that it might be a good idea that scientists reach out to religious publics on evolution instead of going around calling them ignorant, stupid, child abusers, and a range of other insults, atheist hardliners and their flock outrageously insinuated that we might be stealth creationists. Radicalized and emboldened by the so-called Intelligent Design wars, these atheist scientists were now willing to cannibalize their allies in the world of science communication for simply daring to stray from their established party line.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
It turns out the human scalp has an olfactory receptor that seems to play a crucial role in regulating hair follicle growth and death.
- Scientists treated scalp tissue with a chemical that mimics the odor of sandalwood.
- This chemical bound to an olfactory receptor in the scalp and stimulated hair growth.
- The treatment could soon be available to the public.
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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