Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Unprecedented Video Campaign: Scientists Talk About Why Climate Change Matters to Them Personally

Climate

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.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Meet the 'Merchants of Doubt': Spin Doctors Obscuring the Truth on Climate Change

Scientist Finds Remarkable Way to Connect People Emotionally with Climate Change

Why Climate Scientists Receive Death Threats

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Moroccan patients who recovered from the novel coronavirus disease celebrate with medical staff as they leave the hospital in Sale, Morocco, on April 3, 2020. AFP / Getty Images

By Tom Duszynski

The coronavirus is certainly scary, but despite the constant reporting on total cases and a climbing death toll, the reality is that the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 survive it. Just as the number of cases grows, so does another number: those who have recovered.

In mid-March, the number of patients in the U.S. who had officially recovered from the virus was close to zero. That number is now in the tens of thousands and is climbing every day. But recovering from COVID-19 is more complicated than simply feeling better. Recovery involves biology, epidemiology and a little bit of bureaucracy too.

Read More Show Less
Reef scene with crinoid and fish in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

The future for the world's oceans often looks grim. Fisheries are set to collapse by 2048, according to one study, and 8 million tons of plastic pollute the ocean every year, causing considerable damage to delicate marine ecosystems. Yet a new study in Nature offers an alternative, and more optimistic view on the ocean's future: it asserts that the entire marine environment could be substantially rebuilt by 2050, if humanity is able to step up to the challenge.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A daughter touches her father's head while saying goodbye as medics prepare to transport him to Stamford Hospital on April 02, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. He had multiple COVID-19 symptoms. John Moore / Getty Images

Across the country, the novel coronavirus is severely affecting black people at much higher rates than whites, according to data released by several states, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Four rolls of sourdough bread are arranged on a surface. Photo by Laura Chase de Formigny and food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post / Getty Images

By Zulfikar Abbany

Bread has been a source of basic nutrition for centuries, the holy trinity being wheat, maize and rice. It has also been the reason for a lot of innovation in science and technology, from millstones to microbiological investigations into a family of single-cell fungi called Saccharomyces.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A coral reef in Egypt's Red Sea. Tropical ocean ecosystems could see sudden biodiversity losses this decade if emissions are not reduced. Georgette Douwma / Stone / Getty Images

The biodiversity loss caused by the climate crisis will be sudden and swift, and could begin before 2030.

Read More Show Less