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David Ropeik

Big Think Contributor, "Risk, Reason & Reality"

I'm an Instructor at Harvard, a consultant in risk perception and risk communication, author of How Risky Is it, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts, and principal co-author of RISK, A Practical Guide for Deciding What's Really Safe and What's Really Dangerous in the World Around You. I run a program called Improving Media Coverage of Risk. I was the Director of Risk Communication at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, part of the Harvard School of Public Health, for 4 years, prior to which I was a TV reporter, specializing in environmental issues, for a local station in Boston for 22 years.

The Dangers of Our ‘Inconvenient Mind’

      Here’s some bad news for those of you who like to think you can think rationally about risk. You can’t. You know all those thoughtfully considered views you have […]

Lessons from the Excessive Fear of Fukushima

     A year ago a terrible earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power disaster in Japan gripped the world’s attention for weeks. The news is already full of stories about the anniversary […]

Eco Anxiety is Huge Risk In and Of Itself

     As I have written here before, many of us are more worried about some environmental risks than the evidence suggests we need to be – mercury, bisphenol a, nuclear […]

The Ethics of Climate Change Denial

     Here is a version of The Trolley Problem, a classic experiment in ethics. Let’s say you are next to some train tracks, and down the tracks and behind a […]

The Ethics of Climate Change Denial

     Here is a version of The Trolley Problem, a classic experiment in ethics. Let’s say you are next to some train tracks, and down the tracks and behind a […]

Fearful? Fuhgeddaboutit!

            Take a moment, and remember, in as much detail as possible, a time in your life when you were REALLY SCARED!       If you tried, you could probably summon […]

Worry More About Worrying Too Much

     Stress. It is probably one of the biggest risks we face. The more worried you are that you might get sick, the more likely it is that you will, […]

The Risk Perception Gap, Herman Cain, and You and Me

            That Herman Cain allegedly had a long term extramarital relationship, and deluded himself into believing he could keep that secret while running for President, raises once again that ever-puzzling […]

The Climate Change Winds May be Shifting

The latest round of international negotiations about climate change will prompt a lot of press coverage, mostly about the likelihood that, once again, the nations of the world will fail to agree on anything of substance.