Last year, British politician Michael Gove declared that people have “had enough of experts.” This statement set off alarm bells for some in the scientific community. Over the past year, a number of commentators have argued that the world has entered a “post-truth” era in which politicians and other leaders regularly question accepted science – especially around controversial issues like climate change and environmental pollution. At the same time, misinformation in the media and across society has spread.
Such concerns have, in part, led to the emergence of the “March for Science” movement, which is sponsoring marches around the world in support of scientists on Earth Day 2017. As these actions and other current events draw international attention to the role of science in society, we want to hear your thoughts. How can the sustainability research community navigate this politically challenging era?
Please share your ideas, strategies and resources below. To get the conversation going, we’ve suggested three questions for you to respond to:
- Some commentators have debated whether natural and social scientists should seek to actively influence public debate over controversial issues, such as climate change or vaccines. Should scientists take a more active role in advocating for evidence-based thinking in politics and society? Can they do this in a way that is non-partisan?
- What are the key ingredients needed to provide a fertile ground for scientists and non-scientists to better interact with one another in order to ensure that evidence-based thinking prevails in making political and social decisions? What are the barriers to making this happen?
- What resources do scientists need to be able to effectively advocate for evidence-based thinking and to form trust and build strong relationships with a range of communities at the local or national level? That might include trainings, online references or peer-to-peer networking opportunities.