Communicating energy-relevant research in today's polarized climate
Whether Keystone, climate, or all things fracking, scientists and citizens are struggling with decisions about energy technologies. Which fuels are “better”? What framework should be used to compare them: greenhouse gases, air pollutants, water, or land footprints, to name just a few examples? How do we communicate nuances about scale and uncertainties to the media and the public?
I will discuss recent research related to renewables, nuclear power, and fossil fuel use, including specific examples from our work on natural gas and fracking. I will examine how research results are presented, distributed, interpreted, and, sometimes, misused. My classroom experiences will also be used to illustrate how student perceptions about energy change as they learn more about different technologies. Whether the topic is energy or evolution, communicating ecological research remains every bit as important as generating that research.