Sarah Frias-Torres sfrias_torres at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 29 14:07:45 EST 2009

Dear Coral-list,in previous messages I have challenged scientists in the list (from researchers to deans to selection committees), to take more seriously (and correspondingly reward) the efforts of communicating science to the public (=science outreach). 
The current Nature issue (24/31 December 2009) has an exquisite editorial titled "After Copenhagen". Here is a short paragraph that I consider relevant for the subject at hand: 
"A crucial challenge for researchers over the next few years will  be to ensure that public communication of the results of climate change research — whether formally or in the blogosphere — is  robust in every sense: making the results comprehensible, and even vivid, yet rigorous; doing full justice to the uncertainties; maintaining such standards in the face of misinformation and propaganda; and responding promptly to the unexpected"
The future of coral reefs and its inhabitants is tightly linked to global climate change, and how well we communicate the urgency of conservation and management to the public.
As a new decade begins, I wish all of you will find a way to include a vivid and transformative science outreach program or component to your research. Don't just print a nice poster. Go out there and actually talk to people (in every format possible, from your local newspaper or radio show, to videos to blogs). 
I am perfectly aware of all the limitations (financial, institutional and career promotion) we face. But we do a poor service to coral reefs if in the face of widespread habitat destruction and degradation, we limit ourselves to producing peer reviewed papers. 
If we don't reach out to the almost 7 billion people in this planet, we'll have only coral ghosts to study by the end of the decade.... Some food for thought for the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Australia.
Let's make 2010-2019 a new decade of coral reef discovery.

Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. http://independent.academia.edu/SarahFriasTorres


More information about the Coral-List mailing list