Why Gore Should Not Endorse
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."
Speculation mounts as to whether Gore will endorse either Obama or Clinton in the Democratic Primary race. My suggestion would be that he stay out of election politics in 2008, except to try to raise the profile of climate change in a non-partisan way.
As I describe in this column and in several public radio interviews, public opinion is little changed today from the time of the release of Inconvenient Truth, despite the massive publicity success of the film and the sharp increase in news coverage of climate change. The reason is that Gore's success has been a double edged sword. Attention to the film was driven by his partisan celebrity, a great marketing campaign, and his terrific ability to explain the science. But the readily available partisan heuristic of a former Democratic presidential candidate reborn to take up the issue of climate change also ended up being a liability in reaching the roughly half of Americans who do not have a favorable opinion of Gore, including the great majority of Republicans.
As a result, as I describe in the column, over the past three years, across polls, Democrats have grown slightly more accepting of the science, more concerned about the problem, and more willing to make the issue a political priority. Republicans, in contrast, basically remain unchanged, with the great majority rejecting the science, and when asked, rating climate change dead last among 22 issues as a political priority.
So if Gore's goal is to try to reach the broad American public on climate change, and that includes Republicans, he needs to move into a post-partisan stage of his career. He needs to avoid actions or messages that only serve to remind the public of his once strong Democrat label. So far he has done a great job of staying under the radar with the Democratic nomination process, and in my mind, this is the right course of action.
Gore should wait until the nomination is settled, and then work during the general election in a bi-partisan way to raise the profile of climate change as a campaign issue that all Americans should be equally concerned about.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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