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active 4 months, 2 weeks ago
  • Today, AGU and the Geological Society of America (GSA) responded to President Trump’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” that restricts entrance to the U […]

  • In today’s complex world, the biggest science and policy issues require a new approach to thinking. Scientists, policymakers, industry leaders, and legislators can no longer operate within their own circles. M […]

  • This post originally appeared on the AGU blog From The Prow.

    The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) Executive Director/CEO Christine McEntee. AGU represents more than 60,000 […]

  • This blog post was written by Annie Putman, a Ph.D. student in the Geology and Geophysics Department at the University of Utah.

    On August 8, I dined with climate champion U. S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse […]

  • By George Marino, AGU Science Policy Intern

    I recently received a response to an article I shared on our Twitter account about the science policy positions of the Presidential candidates from the two major U.S. […]

  • On 3 March, 2016, the National Landslide Loss Reduction Act (H.R. 4776) was introduced by Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) to establish a National Landslide Hazards Reduction Program and two competitive […]

  • Today’s post is part of a series written by student bloggers from the AGU Fall Meeting.

    By: Emily Parker, Ph.D. student in environmental engineering, University of California, Irvine

    What does it mean to be […]

  • Today’s post is part of a series written by student bloggers from the AGU Fall Meeting.

    By: Andrea Stevens, Graduate Student, University of Arizona

    I couldn’t help wishing Jules Verne was sitting next to m […]

  • Today’s post is part of a series written by student bloggers from the AGU Fall Meeting.

    By: Jiawei Tao, Peking University

    Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population resides in its coastal counties. A detailed […]

  • This blog post was written by Ryan J. Haupt, a paleoecologist working on his Ph.D. in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming. Ryan notes “I am not an expert in science policy but it […]

  • Today’s focus for Earth Science Week is Geologic Map Day. The goal of the day is to highlight the importance of maps and how they contribute to improving our quality of life on a daily basis. Maps have more uses t […]

  • Earth Science Week is 11-17 October, and Monday’s focus is Earth science literacy.  Recent natural hazards, such as Hurricane Joaquin and the flooding in South Carolina, are evidence of the importance of Earth sc […]

  • For the entire week, we are celebrating prominent female figures in science and science policy to recognize Women’s Equality Day on 26 August.

    Today, we are excited to highlight Marcia McNutt, the current […]

  • ThumbnailEven April showers couldn’t keep American Geophysical Union (AGU) scientists away from the first-ever AGU-only Congressional Visits Day in Washington, D. C., on 13–14 April. Twenty scientists, from nine states […]

  • ThumbnailThis past spring, Congress took a number of steps that seemed to imply that NASA should be reprioritizing its focus away from the Earth Sciences.

    For example, during a hearing on March 12, 2015, some members of […]

  • This blog post was written by Annie Putman, a Ph.D. student in the Geology and Geophysics Department at the University of Utah.

    Once the excitement of receiving my acceptance from AGU to attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) Workshop in Washington subsided, I faced up to the next hurdle: a trip to the mall to supplement the flannels in my field wardrobe. Josh, a young, sharply dressed sales assistant at J. Crew rescued me from the retail wilderness, and did his best to ensure that I looked good for Capitol Hill. The author in DC

    Fast forward to D.C., where the cherry blossom petals and tourists taking selfies littered the green spaces in the epicenter of national politics and policy. I still felt uncertain, but disguised in the new pants and a hidden layer of sparkly toenail polish, I sidled up to a fellow student at the CASE mixer. Those first words more than broke the ice. They burst an ice dam and outflowed a cool virtual river of science policy talk and networking. A Jökulhlaup, in Earth science speak.

    Understanding the discretionary budget, with specific focus on science funding, was our first workshop task. In groups we crafted appropriations budget proposals for the Commerce, Justice, and Science subsections that we thought would be acceptable to Congress and the president. My group chose the most objective route to decide our appropriations: We took the simple average of the funding requests put forth by the House, the Senate, and the President. But because of our subjective investment in science, we nudged the budget of NOAA, NIH, and NASA up to the highest amount we thought would pass. My fellow conference attendees found this process straightforward. Unlike our elected officials, we don’t have agreements with stakeholders or constituents to please.

    The second day began at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. Our first speaker, a specialist on Congress, Judy Schneider, teased us through the tangles of congressional committees. The group oscillated between laughing uproar and nervous silence in response to her questions and proclamations. She hammered home the idea that politics is local—having a relationship, an ongoing dialogue, with your local lawmaker is how you get your voice heard. Her lively presentation helped me realize exactly how complex the decision structure is for Congress, and why it can be so thorny.

    At an afternoon session at the AAAS building, we heard from Jeanne Braha, an expert in science communication and the public engagement manager at AAAS. She introduced us to The Upgoer Five from the webcomic XKCD, which uses words like “thing” and “stuff” to describe the parts of a modern space ship, also known as the “only flying space car that’s taken anyone to another world.” The space car example drives home the point that we can distill our jargon into something digestible by a nonscientist. Knowing how to communicate with our legislators and the public is a critical part of science advocacy.

    Finally, we were challenged to say why science matters to us. There are many answers to this difficult question. Science matters because researching and understanding science allows people to engage with the world in ways that shed light on the how and why. Science is the foundation of progress. Science A sculpture in DCcan save lives. For me, science matters because it is a tool we use to investigate a place we call our home. The more I know about the natural history of a place, the more precious it is to me.

    The CASE Workshop made some things as clear as glacial water: There’s a lot more to Congress than snowball throwing, and making decisions that have national effects is trickier than taking a simple average. I was gratified to hear that Congress thinks scientists have integrity and offer valuable insights, and that most of our senators and representatives want to have relationships with us.

    I left CASE feeling like there are opportunities for scientists like me to take part in political discourse by communicating clearly and, perhaps, dressing the part. As I continue my research on the water cycle, I will incorporate science advocacy as part of the broader impacts of my scientific findings by engaging my local and state lawmakers on issues of water security in Salt Lake City and Utah.

    About the author: I study how changes to modern climate affects the water cycle, using stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen in precipitation. I’m interested in how the isotopes change regionally and globally, on event to decadal timescales.

    Are you an AGU member student who would like to attend a future CASE Workshop? Let us know at sciencepolicy [at] agu.org.

  • ThumbnailGeologists have long recognized the potential for a catastrophic earthquake in Nepal. After all, the Himalayas are icy, saw-toothed proof of the power of the region’s tectonic processes. The range is one of the […]

  • ThumbnailOn Tuesday night, the president carried on the time-honored tradition of appearing before Congress and delivering the State of the Union address. So what exactly did he say?

    The President spent a full two […]

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