Jenni has given me the task (as this theme’s convener) of shaping the questions, topics and case studies that we’ll tackle in our session. I’d like to get some discussion going with our group on this theme before we meet in Italy (if you have time).
I’ll go first.
I’ve been following the general blog discussion and I appreciate the focus on research and practice related to “insider” strategies for policy change. These are really important. My own passions lie more in research and practice related to “outsider” strategies – community scientific literacy to inform advocacy (see Bruce’s blog post); and constituency building through evidence-based advocacy that does not lead to further polarization on issues etc.
Those working in the environmental science area know that scientific endeavours cannot be uncoupled from political dimensions (e.g. conservation science). And while science communication is useful for addressing problems in context, we still grapple with what to do when the context is the problem.
I was pleased to see examples where the Rockefeller Foundation is working with groups like the Nature Conservancy. I was also pleased to see a bit of futuring work on challenges and opportunities that speaks to the need for science communicators at various structural and geographical levels—and moves beyond economic considerations (see https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/five-keys-revaluing-our-ecosystems/):
• Decreasing poverty combined with increasing urbanization
• Increasing eco-system shocks that will drive greater human awareness
• Innovations in corporate reporting that increasingly account for the value of natural resources
• Data-empowered decision making and communication that dramatically increases our ability to monitor, understand and strategize human interactions with ecosystems
• Local, decentralized innovation in the absence of global action
I’d be keen to discuss the roles for science communicators in supporting better evidence-based community advocacy. This carries with it some of the broader discussion around the normative (what it should be) and analytic/descriptive (what it is) functions of science communication that Brian and Joan have already raised in articles submitted to this blog.
In terms of topics, some of the top priorities for the Rockefeller Foundation are:
• building resiliency in communities for more effective responses to extreme weather events
• better integrating urban growth into ecosystems
• balancing food security with ecosystem services in marine environments
• supporting decentralized renewable energy development
Would you like to focus on any of these topics in particular during the session? Are there others that interest you for bringing together science communication research and practice?