The Three Cultures Solution: Is Comedy the Gateway to Youth Engagement?
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."
At the "three cultures summit" this past weekend in Oregon, I had the opportunity to meet Hank Green, creator of the immensely popular EcoGeek blog and YouTube auteur of the successful Vlogbrothers series.
Hank's creative work raises the question I posed at this blog last year. Specifically, on science and environment, is comedy and irony the new gateway to public engagement, especially among young audiences?
Consider, for example, that Hank's video above, a comedic and philosophical skit on the trade-offs in eating meat, has been commented on at YouTube more than 2800 times over the past week and ranks as the number # 1 most discussed and viewed clip in the "Nonprofit & activism" community at YouTube.
The potential for comedy and irony to be used in public engagement efforts on science and the environment, especially around questions of civic participation and learning, is a research question that my colleague Lauren Feldman and I have things in the works to explore. We hope to be reporting back with some key announcements, findings and conclusions in coming months.
We're more dependent on them than we realize.
- Scientists says our survival depends on biodiversity.
- A natural climate strategy we often forget.
- Seeing our place among the Earth's living creatures.
There's a high social cost that comes with lighting up.
While short-term results are positive, there is mounting evidence against staying in ketosis for too long.
- Recent studies showed volunteers lost equal or more weight on high-carb, calorie-restricted diets than low-carb, calorie restricted diets.
- There might be positive benefits to short-term usage of a ketogenic diet.
- One dietician warns that the ketogenic diet could put diabetics at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
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