“Clear and simple is not enough,” argues AAAS leader Rush Holt in SCICOMM, my new 12-minute video from the Science Communication Lab in the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University. “It has to be meaningful,” he says. “It has to communicate the science in a way that people feel they can take it in, not just understand it but embrace it and care about it, in other words believe that it is relevant.”
When I brought four video crews to the March for Science in 2017 and 2018, we found an intensity, an urgency, and a desire to communicate the fundamental importance of science to all aspects of our lives. “Science Not Silence” was the rallying call for marchers who have seen their work ignored, defunded, misinterpreted, and censored, despite conclusive evidence that the consequences of inaction will be profound and irreversible.
The rejection of scientific evidence by politicians and policy makers has created an historical turning point and a crucible for scientists. It’s being called a “war on science.” Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day, says in the video: “this is the Inquisition gunning for Galileo.”
At the March for Science, we asked scientists to define the challenges of science communication practice, training and strategy. They represent the new strategic efforts that have been launched to train and equip scientists and science advocates to more effectively communicate the value and values of scientific knowledge.
What’s next for the Science Communication Lab? I want to follow the journeys of scientists who have decided to be more public, to document their communication best practices, to capture their dialogue, one-on-one and in small groups. I want to show how scientists and civic science advocates learn to be more effective communicators and listen to them reflect on their experiences in public education and advocacy.
I plan to tap into the latest science communication research revealing new ways to engage, inform and persuade the public. Where is the science of science communication being applied? And, I want to put this work in historical perspective, from Silent Spring through tobacco and climate, using archival material and interviews with scholars, journalists and science communication strategists.
SCICOMM: Raising Our Voice for Science in Public Policy
12 minute video from the Center for Environmental Filmmaking
Science Communication Lab
Director/Producer Larry Kirkman
Editor/Producer Shannon Shikles
Free to use and share here.