Science is under fire – Scientists need to get out of the lab and talk science to the public! (cit. ACS)
This is a hard time for science. People outside the wall of the ivory tower don’t rely on evidence-based data anymore. Why we got to this point? History taught us that this has always been the case. Do you remember my 2 Italian and Polish friends, Galileo and Copernic who were heavily harassed by the church when stating that the earth rotated around the sun, not vice versa?
Science is a niche and some Institutions, like The Church 500 years ago have a much stronger influence on people than scientists. Fast forward, do you know this guy called Donald Trump who happens to be the president of the most powerful country on this planet claiming that climate changes don’t exist? When such people go against science it’s hard for us to regain credibility!
Recently, Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, campaigned on a plan to sell off major portions of the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness, mining. and hydro-power. “Minorities have to adapt to the majority, or simply disappear,” he said, adding that under his administration, “not one square centimeter” of Brazil will be reserved for the country’s indigenous peoples. To know more check here.
Science is everywhere and we could not think of the modern world without science and innovation as it is today.
I recently listen to a webinar, Become a Science Advocate: How to Engage Your Elected Officials, organised by the American Chemical Society on how to communicate science to policymakers effectively.
Highlights from the webinars were:
1. To begin with, why do scientists have to be bothered in the first place? Because we are citizens and it’s our duty as citizens to tell politicians the way we feel about legislation that affects science.
2. Arrange a meeting with your representative. Wear professionally, bring your business cards along, be on time and well-prepared on your speech.
3. Remember that talking to policymakers is a form of science communication. Few politicians have a science background so they might not get what you say. DO NOT USE JARGON. Science communication is storytelling, tell them about your story, why it’s science important to you and why it should be to everyone else. Science communication is about humanising science, how many scientists are the first generation scientists in their family? I am!
4. If you want to pursue this path and don’t know how to do it, start small by getting involved locally. If you are a PhD students check out if there is an office on campus that provide such training or internship so that you can have a taste of what’s like to talk to politicians.
To know more please check out the webinar and get in touch with ACS for mentorship and support.