Friday, October 26, 2018

Communicating Science: Belated Epilogue

Presentation was received well. Video of it should be available somewhere soon.

Literally, though, the day of my presentation to a decent sized group of researchers, scientists, and PR flacks for the respective schools invited, someone much more experienced than I wrote this. I'm even more proud of my presentation, feeling validated I reached similar conclusions and tried for the same message.

Focus shift from "avoiding catastrophe" to "benefits of change." Less focus on changing public opinion or engaging in good faith arguments with bad faith actors.

By focusing so intensively on public opinion, we have yet to even evaluate the relevant factors that influence elite-level decisions on these valuable yet below the radar bills where bi-partisan cooperation has been proven to be possible.  
 A place to start is to do the hard qualitative work of spending time talking to and listening to dozens of Congressional staffers from both parties, noting the assumptions and priorities that they and their bosses bring to energy innovation policies, the sources of information they rely on, who they judge trustworthy or authoritative on the topics, how they communicate their positions, and the conditions under which agreement might be reached.
More influencing of decision maker minds at the state local level in place of engaging on broad scales or via public campaigns/events, the option with the most immediate potential -- something I stressed in my own presentation at USU.

Dr. Nisbet isn't arguing for an end to engaging and entertaining dissent. The opposite, he says, is most productive. His argument rests on the idea that the value of debate, public opinion, and exposure to scientific fact isn't enough. Researchers must campaign. And city, county, and state legislative leaders may prove more valuable for their time.


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