Conference: Sustainable Science Communication


Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - 5:00pm to Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 9:00pm


UCSB Corwin Pavilion


Special Invited Guests

We invite you to a free, interdisciplinary conference of presentations and discussions on "Sustainable Science Communication" May 13 and 14, 2015. The event begins with the new documentary Merchants of Doubt and audience discussion beginning at 7 pm May 13 in the elegant Pollock Theater. This film kicks off the Sustainable Science Communication Conference, all day at Corwin Pavilion, Thursday May 14. 

Special guests include: Richard Hutton, Jennifer Ouellette, Ken Weiss, Matthew Nisbet, Sonia Fernandez, Bruce Caron, Martha Russell, Lucy Atkinson, Lisa Leombruni, P. Sol Hart, and Andrew Nelson

The conference itself consists of four panels (Content, Audience, Media, Impact) beginning at 9:30 am at UC Santa Barbara’s Corwin Pavilion. No registration is necessary. The conference and discussions will cover approaches from multiple academic research disciplines, community organizations, and practitioners.

The conference title “Sustainable Science Communication” emphasizes two complementary issues.  The first is “sustainable science” and the second is sustainable “science communication.”

Sustainable Science. The transition to a sustainable society will require a “third industrial revolution”, in which manufacturing, transportation and communication are conducted within constraints imposed by resource availability and supply risk; limitations on energy and freshwater consumption; and knowledge about the environmental fate and transport of components. According to Paul Anastas, one of the founders of the green chemistry movement, such a transition implies no less than the “the redesign of…the material that is at the basis of our society and our economy”. The substitution of conventional technologies by more sustainable versions should be achieved in a manner that maximizes long-term benefits while minimizing short-term disruption.

Sustainable Science Communication. Related to this particular issue, but also to environmental and other science-based issues, scientists, engineers, and technology developers in particular and academics in general must become able to communicate clearly to other scientists within and across their disciplines, the public, business leaders, government officials, and policy-makers.  Effective communication about science content, choices, and consequences requires the awareness, development, understanding, and application of ongoing theory, research, and evaluation about effective messaging and an appreciation of barriers that impede science-based decision-making. That is, rather than sound bites, personal preferences, and technical reports, we need a sustainable, shared, and constantly improving basis for deciding how best to communicate the complex and subtle issues of science that affect individuals, communities, institutions, society, and the world. 

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