Communicating Environmental Geoscience - a challenge for the geoscientific community Dave Liverman* EGU, April 2007 *IUGS Commission Geoscience for Environmental management “Communicating Environmental Geoscience” working group leader
The Problem Hazard identified by scientists / disaster requiring response Scientific study, defines hazard Hazard maps, recommendations Policy developed - politicians, policy makers, public Response based on policy - mitigation, planning
“ A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive re-engineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city”
Plans - international workshop, Australia 2008 (in conjunction with International Salinity forum); development of resources for geoscientists; documenting success stories; training and professional development programme
1:20 year (designated floodway) and 1:100 year (floodway fringe) on Newfoundland maps
Internal communication, UK Department of Health
Public reaction to risk sometimes seem bizarre, at least when compared with scientific estimates..the suggestion that a hazard poses an annual risk of death of “one chance in x” may cause near-panic or virtual indifference .
Science Media Centre poll (2006); 71% - "looked to scientists to give an ‘agreed view’ about science issues”; 61% expected science "to provide 100% guarantees about the safety of medicines".
Bernkopf et al. (2006)
“ the uncertainty regarding the interpretation of the science inputs can influence the development and implementation of natural hazard management policies”
“ We are failing in a big way to have our voices heard …we have a lot to learn from our colleagues in the climate sciences. Their science is just as full of uncertainty as earthquake or tsunami scientists. They have, however, been more active in making sure that their concerns are voiced in the right places and at the right volume.”
John McCloskey, article on www.egu-media.net , April 2007