2020 is here, and it’s a big deal. With a presidential election, the escalating climate crisis, and social inequality exacerbating public health inequities, the pressure is on for all of us to raise our voices to draw the connection between how science can help us solve some of our most pressing problems. All of these issues sit at the intersection of science and equity. Without science, we can’t make well-informed decisions. We need science to support the development of well-informed decisions that will benefit everyone.
Knowledge is power.
As scientists and STEM students, we are uniquely positioned to help raise awareness about the connections between science and equity, and use our knowledge and networks to make a difference. There are myriad terms used to describe this type of engagement: outreach, science communication, advocacy, etc. Sometimes people use them interchangeably, but they have different (complementary) goals.
If you are already participating in science outreach and science communication, you have started the process by raising awareness of science issues. Advocacy is not just about taking action as individual scientists. It’s about building a culture within the scientific community that is accepting and supportive of scientist engagement. If you’re interested in more ways to raise your voice in 2020, you can check out Science Rising to join the movement to stand up for science, equity, and justice leading up to the fall election. Take the Science Rising Challenge to participate in different types of civic engagement activities on your campus or community to turn out the science vote this year, and to build democratic habits that will continue beyond this election year.
To find more science advocacy tips and tools to get started, read the full article on the STEM and Culture Chronicle from SACNAS here.
Dr. Jorge Ramos is the Associate Director for Environmental Education at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve of Stanford University. Jorge oversees the education program at Jasper Ridge that can amount to more than 8,000 educational and outreach visits a year by people from very diverse ages, interests, careers and backgrounds. He also co-teaches the Ecology and Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (EARTHSYS 105A) during the winter and spring quarters that immerses students in the scientific basis of ecological research in the context of a field station and multidisciplinary environmental education.
One of three national co-chairs for the historic March for Science, which was collectively held at more than 600 locations on all continents on Earth Day 2017, Valorie Aquino now serves as the inaugural Executive Director of March for Science Community. March for Science represents the largest network of grassroots science advocates in the world, which has collectively facilitated more than 1000 demonstrations on all continents in three years. She studied journalism, anthropology, archaeology, and geochemistry, and her scientific contributions have been published in high-impact journals, including Science and Nature Geoscience.
Melissa Varga is Science Network community manager and partnerships coordinator at UCS. She manages the online community for the Science Network, a group of nearly 25,000 scientists and technical experts interested in science advocacy, which offers its members resources, trainings, webinars, and opportunities to get involved in the issues they care about. She is a lead organizer of Science Rising.