Thursday, October 27, 2016

10 minute read: Katharine Heyhoe, My new favorite science communicator!

This 10 minute read is a New York Times profile of "climate explainer" Katharine Heyhoe from a few weeks ago.  A scientist at Texas Tech University, Heyhoe 'stays above the storm' in talking with others about this challenging and often controversial science policy topic.  Doesn't that sound nice?

I wasn't familiar with Heyhoe's work before reading this article, but now she's one of my #scicomm heroes!

Here are just two things to like about her:

  • She's nice. The article quotes her as saying, “If you begin a conversation with, ‘You’re an idiot,’ that’s the end of the conversation,” and gives several examples of her commitment to consensus and personal connection. (Some disagree that 'congeniality' is enough to counteract those who knowingly spread misinformation, as the article also mentions.) 
  • She is a Christian, and speaks constructively from that faith context. In the 2-minute introduction to her new PBS Digital Studios series, Global Weirding, she explicitly uses this identity to challenge assumptions about what kinds of people take one position or another on climate change. It's one of the most creative and practical applications of the science of science communications I've seen recently. (...What is... Cultural cognition theory ..anyone, anyone??) 

I suspect there's a lot to learn from in Heyhoe's approach, especially for those of us active in another challenging and often controversial science policy topic -- agriculture technology!

No comments:

Post a Comment