Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Tag Archive: communication

  1. CORRECTION: US Dept of Agriculture’s NRCS supports science and use of ‘climate change’

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    NOTE FROM ELLIE: This Guardian story I originally posted was strongly refuted by the Acting Chief of the NRCS in an email in support of science and climate change action. Here is the text:

    From: Jordan, Leonard – NRCS, Washington, DC
    Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 1:07 PM
    To: Jordan, Leonard – NRCS, Washington, DC <>
    Subject: Climate change story

    NRCS Employees,

    As you’ve likely seen, there has been considerable news coverage during the past two days centered around two emails that discuss the use of the phrase “climate change.”  The articles allege that NRCS has received direction and has provided direction to censor the use of the phrase “climate change.”

    I want you all to know that this is not the case.  There has never been a directive from the administration regarding the use of the phrase climate change, or any other language.  There is nothing stopping you from communicating to your customers using the terminology that you see as most beneficial for getting conservation on the ground.  The Department and NRCS are fact-based, science-driven, and customer-focused, and nothing about who we are or what we do has changed.

    The climate change websites for both USDA and NRCS remain active.  We work each day to help agricultural producers plan and implement conservation practices that sequester carbon and benefit our natural resources, enabling producers to improve their bottom line while rising to the challenge of today. With partners like Colorado State University, we’re able to offer tools like COMET-Farm, an accounting system for greenhouse gases on agricultural lands. Our Conservation Innovation Grants program continues to empower partner organizations and producers to develop cutting-edge approaches and technologies that support greenhouse gases, cleaner water and air, healthier soil and development of conservation finance systems. And this is just the beginning.

    We remain committed to empowering you to do what you do best, whether you’re a district conservationist or a snow surveyor, or a biologist or a conservation technician.  Our team provides one-on-one, personalized advice on the best solutions to meet the unique conservation and business goals of those who grow our nation’s food and fiber.  We help people make investments in their operations and local communities to keep working lands working, boost rural economies, increase the competitiveness of American agriculture, and improve the health of our air, water, soil, and habitat.  And we generate, manage and share the data, technology and standards that enable partners and policymakers to make decisions informed by objective, reliable science.

    Nothing is going to keep us from carrying out our mission.

    Leonard Jordan

    Acting Chief

    This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

  2. Will The Third Industrial Revolution Create An Economic Boom That Saves The Planet?

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    Jeremy Rifkin’s thinking about how to build a clean-energy powered, automation-filled future is inspiring major infrastructure plans in Europe and China…

    By Jeff Beer

    First, the bad news: GDP is slowing all over the world because productivity has been in decline for two decades. The result has been higher unemployment (especially among young people) and economists talking about 20 more years of slow growth. According to new numbers from Oxfam, just eight people are as rich as half the globe. In addition to this unprecedented inequality, we face climate change that’s taken us into the sixth extinction wave in the history of the planet, and the last time that happened was 65 million years ago.

    To turn things around before it’s too late, we need a plan that’s both compelling and doable. Economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin thinks he has just that plan: creating what he calls the third industrial revolution, which will be sparked by harnessing renewable energy and enabling automation and the internet of things to result in a prosperous new economy powered by clean energy.

    The good news is that people are listening. On February 7, the European Union unveiled its “Smart Europe” plan influenced by Rifkin’s work, which outlines how the 350 regions of Europe will start building out the road maps to transition into a new infrastructure of 5G internet, renewable energy, and automated driverless transport internet, all riding on top of an internet of things platform. Regions in the north of France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands have already begun their transition over the last few years. There’s a similar plan taking place in China: After Premier Li Keqiang read Rifkin’s seminal book, The Third Industrial Revolution, he made Rifkin’s strategies core to the country’s 13th Five-Year plan that was announced last March, and includes billions in renewable energy investment by 2020….

    …There have been, according to Rifkin, at least seven major economic paradigm shifts in history, and they all share a common denominator–at a moment in time, three defining technologies emerge and then converge to create an infrastructure that fundamentally changes how we manage, power, and move economic activity across the value chains.

    • First, new communication technology more efficiently manages economic activity.
    • Second, new sources of energy more efficiently power economic activity.
    • And third, new transportation and logistics more efficiently move economic activity….
  3. New podcast ‘Evidence Squared’ on communicating science

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    New podcast ‘Evidence Squared’ on communicating science by John Cook & Peter Jacobs

    Posted on 29 March 2017 by John Cook

    Since arriving in the US two months ago, I’ve been developing a podcast with Peter Jacobs, a PhD student studying paleoclimate at George Mason University. While there are a number of podcasts about climate change, there were no podcasts about the science of science communication, how to talk about climate change. Today, we’ve launched our podcast, Evidence Squared.

    You can check us out on iTunes and listen to our first four episodes (more on those in a moment). Be sure to subscribe and rate us!

  4. How is a good ecologist to react to the new administration in Washington?

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    Letter to Ecological Society of America Membership from President David M. Lodge

    March 6, 2017  Like many of you, I have found it hard to know how to react to the style, tone, and substance of the new administration in Washington….Unfortunately, the absence of science and scientists in the Trump administration has not changed. Likewise, Trump’s actions on environmental policy have been consistent with all earlier indications….So how should we – the 10,000 members of ESA – react?

    …Please see, for example, ESA’s letter on scientific integrity and joint letters on the immigration ban, the importance of a president’s science advisor appointment, the Waters of the US rule, and more that are found online. …While I recognize that a diversity of views is likely to exist among ESA members, I hope that many of you will find these reflections useful as you consider how to react as individual members of ESA. I also recommend ESA Past-president Jane Lubchenco’s recent commentary on “Environmental science in a post-truth world,” in Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment.

    First, what binds ESA members together is our respect for science, commitment to rigorous peer review and publication of research, and a desire to see our science interpreted and used appropriately. We must continue to advocate – more strongly than ever – that representatives of science and rigorous scientific analysis are essential to policy-making. Call, write, and visit your local, state, and national representatives and your senators. Consider participating in or otherwise supporting April’s March for Science.

    Second, we must not allow ourselves to be arrogant or make it easy for others to perceive us that way.  Science must be at the policy-making table, but in a democracy, many diverse considerations belong at the decision-making table. We must be more aggressive promoters of science, but we must simultaneously be humble in recognition that our unique role is not solely important….

    Third, we must seek to understand and engage respectfully with our family members, neighbors, and other fellow citizens at work, on the street, and in community groups who share President Trump’s enthusiasm for reversing environmental regulations….Double-down on your engagement in outreach and education.

    Fourth, we must remind our elected officials at all levels and our fellow citizens that the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and the Montreal Protocol have dramatically improved human health and well-being in the last 45 years. Los Angeles, Gary, IN and New York City were not healthy places to breath and swim in 1970. In Cleveland, the oily pollution floating on the Cuyahoga River caught on fire. Acid rain had wiped out the fish in many Adirondack lakes. Bald eagles and brown pelicans were on the verge of extinction. An ozone hole was growing over Antarctica and increasing skin cancer in humans. Scientific research provided the diagnoses of these problems and informed the solutions….
    Finally, we must alert our fellow citizens that science and technology are already driving economic booms in other countries…
    ….The staff and leadership of ESA will stay the course for science, speaking with both confidence in the rigor and value of our mission, and with humility as only one important voice in our robust democracy. We have waited, and now it is time for ESA to be seen and be heard. I encourage each member of ESA to do the same.
  5. A Scientists’ March on Washington Is a Bad Idea

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    By ROBERT S. YOUNG JAN. 31, 2017 Opinion NY Times  see full article here

    what I learned was that most of those attacking our sea-level-rise projections had never met me, nor my co-authors. Not only that, most of the public had never met anyone they considered a scientist. They didn’t understand the careful, painstaking process we followed to reach our peer-reviewed conclusions. We were unknowns, “scientists” delivering bad news. We were easy marks for those who felt threatened by our findings.

    A march by scientists, while well intentioned, will serve only to trivialize and politicize the science we care so much about, turn scientists into another group caught up in the culture wars and further drive the wedge between scientists and a certain segment of the American electorate. Rather than marching on Washington and in other locations around the country, I suggest that my fellow scientists march into local civic groups, churches, schools, county fairs and, privately, into the offices of elected officials. Make contact with that part of America that doesn’t know any scientists. Put a face on the debate. Help them understand what we do, and how we do it. Give them your email, or better yet, your phone number….

  6. In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’

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    Even as conversations about the subject remain contentious, the environment is becoming a concern no one there can ignore.

    By HIROKO TABUCHI JAN. 28, 2017 NY Times Full article here

    GLEN ELDER, Kan. — Doug Palen, a fourth-generation grain farmer on Kansas’ wind-swept plains, is in the business of understanding the climate. Since 2012, he has choked through the harshest drought to hit the Great Plains in a century, punctuated by freakish snowstorms and suffocating gales of dust. His planting season starts earlier in the spring and pushes deeper into winter.

    ….To adapt, he has embraced an environmentally conscious way of farming that guards against soil erosion and conserves precious water. He can talk for hours about carbon sequestration — the trapping of global-warming-causing gases in plant life and in the soil — or the science of the beneficial microbes that enrich his land. In short, he is a climate change realist. Just don’t expect him to utter the words “climate change.” “If politicians want to exhaust themselves debating the climate, that’s their choice,” Mr. Palen said, walking through fields of freshly planted winter wheat. “I have a farm to run….

    …Here in north-central Kansas, America’s breadbasket and conservative heartland, the economic realities of agriculture make climate change a critical business issue. While climate change is part of daily conversation, it gets disguised as something else – erosion, dwindling aquifers, and other practical issues....