Opening Remarks: Welcoming the Panel (Mike Hirshfield, Moderator)
Speaker #1, Michael Lemonick, Climate Central , formerly with Time Magazine
Communicating about Climate Change There is an important role that magazines and publishers play in helping to improve AmericaÕs science literacy. Only 48% believe there is a scientific consensus on climate change happening. TIME magazine has done its share of scientific story writing. Despite the number of articles written, there is still a lack of knowledge and understanding on this issue. What are we doing wrong? Interesting how lack of scientific data can still result in published pieces that are inaccurate (e.g. the 1970Õs concept that there was a global cooling in the northern hemisphere). There can be a huge overstating or understating of scientific data and knowledge.
Advocacy is an important element of communicating but writers and magazines need to be careful about not biasing data and information to the public. However, just presenting the facts, without the advocacy/appeal around it, does not touch the human attention. So, at Climate Central, they are trying to address the issue of how to communicate the science data in an appealing way.
Film clip #1: Showed the use of wind power and cost effectiveness of it. Use of Hydroelectric Dams, and other alternative energy sources.
Film clip #2: Carbon Emissions & Climate change (climatecentral.org) Challenges of use of corn ethanol. It takes many years for us to regain the carbon credit for corn ethanol and so in the end itÕs not necessarily a safe alternative. Need to be careful of using biofuels to reduce our carbon footprint.
How do we know what works and doesnÕt? Need to keep trying to throw out messages and see what sticks. Keep experimenting with messages and delivery in ÔhopesÕ of effecting and inspiring change.
Question: What is the nature of truth? How to distinguish what is science and what isnÕt, in this day of democratization of communications. With blogging and online access, anybody can claim to be a scientist, whether heÕs a Japanese whaler/fisherman or a creationist. Answer: Yep, youÕre right.
Question: When Journalists cover science, they generally cover both sides of an issue and there is concern that this may dilute the issue. So, how to deal with that? Answer: Sometimes there really arenÕt 2 sides to every issue, but even if there is a small enough faction that disagrees, it would be politically incorrect to not address and acknowledge the other side.
Question: (Dr. Earle): How can we truly address the issue of climate change and impacts on oceans, which is so little talked about? What can be done? Answer: Good point, weÕll have to add a little (or big?) segment in one of our future blogs. Sylvia: it needs to become a CENTRAL theme and not just a Ôlittle segmentÕ. Michael said the point was well noted.
Speaker #2, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (See powerpoint presentation slides)
Addressed the urgency of connecting the science to climate change. We only know less than 30% of the species living in the ocean. Need to work at ecosystem change level, globally. (See distribution of Chlorophyll slide. )Arctic sea ice is rapidly disappearing at unprecedented rates in over a million years. Coral reefs are found in less than 0.1% of the ocean (MT note: the speaker last night said 0.2%). Since 1970, 40-50% of corals have been lost. Ove reviewed various causes of coral decline (e.g. coastal development, overexploitation of marine species, marine pollution, physical destruction and now, climate change. ) He said that just 1 degree change in climate can effect bleaching around the world. There was a huge bleaching event in 1998 where 16% of the worldÕs corals were lost. Important to recognize the role that corals play ecologically as well as economically. As such, the role of humans in protecting them is critical and requires a lifestyle change. Business as usual just wonÕt cut it. We need a massive restructuring. Some recommendations for coral conservation include increasing resilience of coral reefs.
Four key messages. 1. Begin action immediately. 2. Major impacts increase in scale as 450ppm is reached. 3. Need to stabilize environment now. 4. missed the last oneÉ(see slide).
Speaker #3: Terry Tamminen (7th Generation)
Terry spoke enthusiastically about how we can all work together to take care of our oceans. He shared the story of saving JJ the gray whale calf. They had to try to move her in a weakened condition to SeaWorld USA. It took a lot of collaborative effort and garnered lots of media attention. People around the world expressed heartfelt appreciation for the effort to save one whale. Terry recounted the travels of spawning salmon and the destruction of salmon habitat. He noted the impacts of humans have had on the pH of the ocean, and resulting ocean acidification. He called it a global osteoporosis of the ocean. He noted impacts of climate on species like clams and shellfish. ÒLetÕs shape our future before it shapes us.Ó We, humans, are likewise going to be impacted by climate change as our coastlines change and our waterfront developments are compromised by coastal inundation, erosion, etc. Why is this happening? Because of our stubborn desire to take our living rooms on wheels to the super market. Humans are 60-90% of the cause of this change. The US has only 5% of the worldÕs population yet contributes to 20% of global carbon emissions. Our consumptive and materialistic behaviors are the source of our own demise and contributions to climate change. BUT, we have the power to change. We can get action started, state by state. CA is a terrific example. New cap and trade programs are being designed. New climate laws being put in place, region to region. We just need to make a conscious decision to come to the earthÕs rescue, just like we did for J.J. the gray whale calf. We can do this for our oceans, for ourselves. We need to all act together, and need to carry our message forward. We CAN make a difference, and thereby inspire the next generation.
Question: How to inspire business leaders to reduce their footprint and make changes in their practices? Answer(TT): Referred to McKenzie study on climate change costs which showcased that businesses can make greening profitable. They can reduce energy expenditures and overall energy consumption. Get them to do short and long term thinking. Need to incorporate carbon risks into their company projections.
Question: (Dr. Earle) How do we manage these issues in the open seas, high seas? How can we protect the integrity of the ecosystems out there? Why canÕt we just protect the ocean for OUR sake, not just preserving for economic reasons, but for integrityÕs sake, our sake? So much focus on fishermen, why donÕt we just stop taking fish altogether? Or stop taking oysterÕs out of the Chesapeake Bay. LetÕs move away from this hunter/gatherer mentality that is no longer realistic for our society anymore.
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