Climate change survey has a message for animal scientists

sexta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2014

According to a survey by Purdue and Iowa State universities, farmers and scientists hold deeply different views on climate change and its possible causes. The results also suggest just how important it is to translate data in ways that are relevant to a general audience.

The results found that more than 90 percent of the scientists and climatologists surveyed said they believed climate change was occurring, with more than 50 percent attributing climate change primarily to human activities.

On the other hand, 66 percent of corn producers surveyed said they believed climate change was occurring, with 8 percent pinpointing human activities as the main cause. A quarter of producers said they believed climate change was caused mostly by natural shifts in the environment, and 31 percent said there was not enough evidence to determine whether climate change was happening or not.

These results show that there is not only a disparity in beliefs about climate change, but they also serve as a good reminder of the need for more effective communication of scientific data and trends with non-scientific audiences.

Study co-author Lois Wright Morton, professor of sociology at Iowa State University, said that to foster productive dialogue about climate change, scientists and climatologists need to “start from the farmer’s perspective.” This, too, is an important take-home for animal scientists to keep in mind as you share research findings with a broader audience.

Further reading:

Study: Farmers and scientists divided over climate change

Learn to communicate science effectively

Dos and Don’ts during a lab tour