Science-policy connections to improve responses to extreme climatic events
(First in a series on "Teaching about scientific and political change in times of crisis")
A Collaborative Exploration (CE) in which participants consider "Science-policy connections to improve responses to extreme climatic events" at the same time as we explore and share emerging theory and research to inform and improve "Teaching about scientific and political change in times of crisis." In particular, we might chew on whether we have working under an outdated progressive imaginary about citizen engagement in science working with developments in social institutions to provide for the welfare of the populace.
- In brief, CEs are an extension of Problem- or Project-Based Learning (PBL) and related approaches to education in which participants address a scenario or case in which the problems are not well defined, shaping their own directions of inquiry and developing their skills as investigators and prospective teachers (in the broadest sense of the word). (For more background, read the prospectus.)
- If you want to know what a CE requires of you, review the expectations and mechanics.
- on hangout for 1 hour each week in late January and February at 11.50am (chosen to match applicant's schedules). The URL for the first hangout will be provided only to those who register (via http://bit.ly/CEApply), which entails making a commitment to attend that 1st session and at least 2 of the other 3 hangouts.
- If you are wondering how to define a meaningful and useful approach to the topic, let us present a scenario for the CE and hope this stimulates you to apply to participate. We will then let CE participants judge for themselves whether their inquiries are relevant.
- Intended outcomes for participants of this CE are of two kinds:
- a) tangible: a precis or thought-piece about theory and research to inform and improve "teaching about scientific and political change in times of crisis"; and
- b) experiential: being impressed at how much can be learned with a small commitment of time using the CE structure to motivate and connect participants.
Applications are sought from teachers, researchers, graduate students, and activists who want to think more about the CE topic in relation to the theme of the series. Newcomers and return participants are welcome.
(Additional CEs in the series: Feb-Mar
Who—at various levels of political organization and decision making—needs to know what kinds of things that different natural and social sciences have learned (or could learn if appropriate short- or long-term research were undertaken) concerning the science-policy connections involved in improving responses to extreme climatic events
and how that knowledge can be shaped to influence those people.
For thirty or more years some social scientists have been studying responses to extreme climate events with the premise that useful lessons for policy can be learned even if the trends in overall climate change were not to persist
(Glantz 1989, Taylor and Buttel 1992). Nevertheless,
- While studies and policy analysis in this "Glantzian" mode have been happening (Glantz n.d.), the emphasis has remained on refining the projections and scenarios for a climate change future.
- Resistance in the USA (and in some other countries with governments on the right) to making policy that addresses climate change, coupled with fostering of skepticism about the science of climate change (see Oreskes and Conway’s Merchants of Doubt).
- Discussion of adaptation to climate change has, nevertheless, grown and a market has arisen for insurance against catastrophes.
- International agreements to address climate change have been written and recently most nations have signed on.
- A nationalist reaction against international governance.
- A steep rise in the assets that global corporations hold outside the control of national states.
Imagine we are NOT looking to tackle this whole complex arena of climate change science and politics, but are taking a less confrontational route. After all, people still have to face extreme climate events even if they resist the idea of human-induced climate change, economic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or international treaties. Similarly, adaptation to long-term changes in sea-level will surely build on or borrow from responses to extreme climate events now and in the near future. This said, we don't have to be naive about the ways that the developments above affect the thinking of political authorities and political groups and thus affect what activists, scholars, and voters have to do to get them interested in learning about responding to extreme climatic events and about how best to bring science into these responses.
Glantz, M. ed. (1989). Societal Responses to Regional Climactic Change: Forecasting by Analogy
. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Glantz, M. ed. (n.d.) http://fragilecologies.com/
(viewed 26 Jan. 2016)
Oreskes, N and E. Conway (2010). Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
New York: Bloomsbury Press
Taylor, P. J. and F. H. Buttel (1992). "How do we know we have global environmental problems? Science and the globalization of environmental discourse." Geoforum 23(3): 405-416.