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'Keep Your Tiny Hands Off Our Data'

Climate
'Keep Your Tiny Hands Off Our Data'

Hundreds of scientists gathered in Boston's Copley Square on Sunday to "stand up for science," marking the latest protest in a wave of outspoken political engagement from scientists in reaction to the Trump administration.

The rally, timed to coincide with the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston, brought together concerned scientists and activists from across the country.

While the event's organizers did not explicitly call out Trump, the signs protesters toted highlighted a larger concern for science's future. As Chris Mooney wrote in the Washington Post, "The challenges for scientists during the Trump administration could not only be bigger, but also potentially more diverse, than those seen during George W. Bush's administration."

Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies renewable energy solutions to climate change, told the AP, scientists are responding to the Trump administration's "anti-science rhetoric."

"We're really trying to send a message today to Mr. Trump that America runs on science, science is the backbone of our prosperity and progress," Supran said.

For a deeper dive:

News: AP, Washington Post, The Hill, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor

Commentary: Washington Post, Chris Mooney analysis

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Former U.S. Sec. of Energy Ernest Moniz listens during the National Clean Energy Summit 9.0 on October 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Isaac Brekken / Getty Images for National Clean Energy Summit

By Jake Johnson

Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.

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Climate change can evoke intense feelings, but a conversational approach can help. Reed Kaestner / Getty Images

Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.

"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.

She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.

"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.

She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.

This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.

"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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