Unprecedented Video Campaign: Scientists Talk About Why Climate Change Matters to Them Personally
Scientists can be a dry bunch, making listeners yawn as they unspool their facts and figures. They're usually not schooled in the art of slick PR, which often makes their reality-based research a harder sell than the beguiling fantasies of those who want to deny it.
Nowhere is this more true than in the field of climate research. We know that 97 percent of scientists agree: climate change is real and it's driven by human activity. But well-funded climate deniers and their smooth-talking frontmen often manage to get the media to frame climate change as a "two equal sides" issue.
In an unprecedented collaboration between climate scientists, advocacy organizations and the public, More Than Scientists, which launched today, sources the real life stories and personal views of scientists on the frontlines of climate research. In a series of short videos, scientists who work in climate-related disciplines don't spew facts and figures, but rather the personal concerns that those facts and figures have led them to. They talk about the potential impact of climate change on their families, their communities and the environment, with the hope that this will spur people into taking action.
"We created More Than Scientists to make a better connection between the scientists and the people that need to hear their message," says campaign director Eric Michelman, founder of the Climate Change Education Project which created More Than Scientists. “We want the public to meet the people behind the science and understand why they care about the world we’re leaving to our kids and grandkids.”
The campaign launch includes more than 200 videos created by dozens of climate scientists from around the world. The videos invite viewers to meet scientists as ordinary people who could be your neighbors, people like LuAnne Thompson, professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, who says, "I do have hope for the future. And that is because I work with undergraduates and graduate students all the time. I see my daughter and her friends and they have immense energy for making positive changes in the future. We have to make changes now that will allow them to bring their ingenuity, their talent and their drive to build a better future. I am making this video as a mother and as someone who has hope for the future."
It doesn't get much more personal than the video testimony of the University of Washington associate professor of atmospheric sciences Dargan Frierson, who is also a musician and brings his mandolin into the classroom and regales his students with songs about climate science.
"My wife and I just recently had a daughter, Eleanor," he says in one of his videos, smiling warmly. "She's really the light of our lives. My wife Julie and I are just so enjoying watching her as a baby, watching her grow up a bit. And when you have a child you naturally think a lot about the future. You want a better future for them. We're making preparations for her future, to ensure she'll have a safe environment to grow up in. And I think we need to be making these same decisions about our climate future. We want all of our children around the world to grow up with a safe climate."
The campaign includes videos from climate scientists at leading universities such as MIT, the University of Washington and Harvard, but it's also inviting scientists from all over the world to contribute their own videos, offering a tool for scientists to upload them.
"Scientists, please join in!" it urges. "Help the public understand that climate change is real, that it is happening, and we do need to act. Help them also get to know you—that you’re not an academic in an ivory tower, but a fellow concerned citizen, a parent, a member of the community who is concerned for the future we’ll leave our children and grandchildren. Yours is the most powerful voice to rebuff the misinformation about climate change."
The campaign also invites non-scientist viewers to take action.
"There are a lot of ways you can join the community working to tackle climate change, from taking personal actions that limit your greenhouse gas emissions to the way you vote to signing petitions to speaking with your elected officials," the website says. "We believe in an all-of-the-above approach."
To make it easier for people to take those steps, its "get involved" page provides links to 16 environmental groups working on climate change, as well as organizations such as NASA, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that offer additional information about environmental issues.
"I'm very excited about this new campaign," says climate scientist Michael E. Mann, director of Penn State's Earth System Science Center and advisory board member of More Than Scientists. "Too few people have seen the lighter and more personal side of climate scientists. Many of us are science nerds. But we are ordinary people too, and like anyone else, we care about our children and grandchildren, and the health of the world we leave behind for them. So I'm very excited about this new campaign and the promise it holds for communicating that message to the public."
David McGee, assistant professor of Paleoclimate at MIT, sums it up perfectly. “The big picture is very clear. The climate is changing, humans are doing things that are causing the climate to change and we have the power to stop that.”
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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