Student Pugwash's Science Policy Guide for Young Voters
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."
Student Pugwash has launched a very interesting science, environment, and technology guide for young voters. Press release below.
Student Pugwash USA Launches Science Policy Election Guide for Young Voters
Washington, DC (March 5, 2008): Addressing questions about climate change, energy security, and other concerns expressed by young voters in a recent survey, Student Pugwash USA launched From Electrons to Elections, a science and technology policy guide to the 2008 elections.
From Electrons to Elections is a non-partisan resource designed to educate young voters on science, technology, and health issues and provide them with the platforms of the leading political candidates on these subjects. It engages students on the issues through interactive technologies including blogging, YouTube videos, and polls. The guide explores a wide range of issues including peace and security, energy and environment, health, and emerging technology. Student Pugwash's MIT chapter first created this online election guide in 2004. The modest, initial effort garnered the attention of Science Magazine, blogs, and other online media sites.
"Now, more than ever, is a critical time to learn about the science issues in the upcoming election. Science and technology are making a bigger impact on our daily lives. The Student Pugwash election guide gives me an unbiased way to look the different issues at stake," said Lina Nayak, a medical student at Washington University in St. Louis.
Young voters, ages 18-25, showed overwhelming concern about science, technology, and health policy issues in an informal survey conducted in fall 2007 through the popular social networking website, Facebook. Climate change and privacy/civil liberties were the top concerns among young voters, while energy policy and health care closely followed behind. Young voters also demonstrated strong interest in the science policy platforms of the candidates, with 89% of respondents saying science and tech issues would strongly or somewhat impact their vote. Over 80% of young people called for greater emphasis to be placed on science and technology in the 2008 presidential debates. Ninety-six percent of those surveyed intend to vote in the 2008 presidential elections.
"I'm always frustrated by how little input U.S. youth have in formal international environmental negotiations," said Kyle Gracey, a graduate student at University of Chicago. "As the Student Pugwash survey indicated, young people want a role in combating climate change and promoting better science policy overall, and here in America we have it--our vote."
Some areas of science and technology policy were contentious among young voters. Those surveyed were almost evenly divided over expanding the role of nuclear power and prioritizing manned over unmanned space flight. Meanwhile, only 44% of young voters believed that the United States should spend a greater proportion of gross domestic product on scientific research.
Student Pugwash USA, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, engages students to promote the socially responsible use of science and technology. For more information on From Electrons to Elections and the survey results, please visit www.spusa.org.
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