How To Talk Science With Policymakers—From Coronavirus To Climate Change
Coronavirus is giving science a resurgence in policy circles. Stark images of victims struggling to survive on ventilators, or having lost that battle, including maybe someone we know or loved or knew of….and the mountains of unemployment claims and miles-long lines for food banks, bring the urgency of learning what this novel virus does to our bodies and minds. We know we can’t bring the economy back until we destroy or at least bring the pandemic to heel, so we’re stretching our minds to understand the science.
Suddenly we’re learning an array of multi-syllabic medical terms and how medical treatments and vaccines are developed and brought to market, while we don face masks and gloves to protect ourselves from this deadly and invisible killer virus.
In a matter of eight short weeks, many policymakers from statehouses to Congress who previously doubted science are now paying attention because they have to – their lives, their family’s lives and those of their constituents who they want to re-elect them literally depend upon it.
To explore what we can learn from this moment about the best way to communicate complicated scientific topics including climate science, to policymakers who may be science-averse, I spoke with Michelle Wyman, Executive Director of the National Council for Science and the Environment, an organization dedicated to integrating science into policy decisions and a long-time policy-whisperer.
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