Using Scientific Conferences to Engage the Public on Climate Change

Using Scientific Conferences to Engage the Public on Climate Change AbstractClimate change is often perceived as controversial in the public’s view. One meaningful way scientists can address this problem is to engage with the public to increase understanding of climate change. Attendees of scientific conferences address climate change within meetings yet rarely interact with the public as part of conference attendance. Here, we describe outreach (sending experts into the community) and inreach (bringing the public to a conference) activities at the 2015 Northwest Climate Conference in Idaho that were designed to increase the local community’s understanding of climate change and foster interaction between scientists and the public. Conference attendees volunteered to visit community schools and civic groups to give presentations and engage in a discussion on climate change. We designed a well-attended evening plenary session for the public that featured an experienced speaker who described local climate change impacts important to the community. Local high school students attended the conference, and several were mentored by conference attendees. We reached an estimated 1,000 students and 500 other members of the public in person and many others via advertising and newspaper articles. Keys to our success were local contacts with excellent connections to schools, civic organizations, local government officials, interest groups, and a pool of motivated, enthusiastic conference attendees who were already traveling to the area. We encourage other conference organizers to consider these activities in their future meetings to increase public knowledge of climate change, particularly given the urgency of action needed to limit future climate change and its impacts. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society American Meteorological Society

Using Scientific Conferences to Engage the Public on Climate Change

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0477
eISSN
1520-0477
D.O.I.
10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00304.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractClimate change is often perceived as controversial in the public’s view. One meaningful way scientists can address this problem is to engage with the public to increase understanding of climate change. Attendees of scientific conferences address climate change within meetings yet rarely interact with the public as part of conference attendance. Here, we describe outreach (sending experts into the community) and inreach (bringing the public to a conference) activities at the 2015 Northwest Climate Conference in Idaho that were designed to increase the local community’s understanding of climate change and foster interaction between scientists and the public. Conference attendees volunteered to visit community schools and civic groups to give presentations and engage in a discussion on climate change. We designed a well-attended evening plenary session for the public that featured an experienced speaker who described local climate change impacts important to the community. Local high school students attended the conference, and several were mentored by conference attendees. We reached an estimated 1,000 students and 500 other members of the public in person and many others via advertising and newspaper articles. Keys to our success were local contacts with excellent connections to schools, civic organizations, local government officials, interest groups, and a pool of motivated, enthusiastic conference attendees who were already traveling to the area. We encourage other conference organizers to consider these activities in their future meetings to increase public knowledge of climate change, particularly given the urgency of action needed to limit future climate change and its impacts.

Journal

Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Feb 1, 2017

References

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