A Call for Better Climate Awareness

Marjorie Sun’s story on climate education efforts by science museums is particularly timely, since the legislative landscape in Washington is most likely to become more hostile to climate science, when Congress turns over next month (see John Broder’s post for the New York Times, for more on the Senate’s highest-profile climate contrarian).

Part of the "Feeling the Heat" exhibit at Birch Aquarium, near San Diego. (Photo: Birch Aquarium)

One of the educators interviewed in her radio feature, Tom Bowman, was among the signatories of a letter published in the journal Science shortly after the story first aired on KQED’s Quest. Bowman’s firm helps develop climate exhibits, including those at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla.

The letter declared that “Because the potential consequences of climate change are so high, the science community has an obligation to help people, organizations, and governments make informed decisions.”

The missive went on to call for a major initiative among scientists to improve public understanding of climate issues:

“The initiative must make concerted efforts to provide people, organizations, and governments with critical information, to address misperceptions, and to counter misinformation and deception.”

The letter was signed by nine co-authors, including Anthony Leiserowitz and Ed Maibach, co-creators of the Six Americas project on attitudes toward climate science and policy. The two were collaborators with Climate Watch on “A Matter of Degree,” an online manifestation of the attitudes survey, which you can take at the Climate Watch website or on Facebook.

Leiserowitz appeared on NPR’s Science Friday today to talk about another of his surveys, which reveals a profound lack of knowledge among the American public, of the basics of climate science.

The Science letter went on to stress the importance of building credibility for the initiative:

“Despite the politically contentious nature of climate change policy, the initiative must be strictly nonpartisan. In the face of efforts to undermine public confidence in science, it must become a trusted broker of unbiased information for people on all sides of the issue.”

The nine called on “philanthropic funding institutions” to support the educational effort.

Hear Sun’s radio feature as rebroadcast on The California Report‘s weekly magazine.

  • http://www.estatedocsorganizer.com Julie Jones

    Education is all well and good — IF you have the facts and the turth. Noone is educating about SKY POLLUTION. See the new documentary “What in the World are They Spraying” by Michael Murphy. see vimeo.com/16219493 or the websites: coalition againstgeoengineering.org and geoengineeringwatch.org for information that is not available in the regular media channels and publications — yet.