TED Conversations

Eric Chu



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How do we make sure that voices of scientists are heard and put into actions?

Recently in one of my courses, my instructor presented us with the topics of global warming and climate change. Interestingly enough, he then led a discussion on the controversy of the subject here in the United States. As it turns out, many Americans do not believe in global warming and climate change. Possibly because of political belief, unwillingness to accept something that would require changes, prefer not to believe in the name of economic development, etc. Yet what was horrifying was this National Public Broadcast audio clip on a 14-year old girl who does not believe global warming is happening. As the interviewer brought her in front of a climate change researcher, who presented her data, tested by many other researchers, explained the girl's questions and statements on why she thinks global warming is happening, the girl was not won over. Instead, she said that it might help her believe if both sides of the argument are presented, she then could do her own research to determine what is true and what is not.
In an age where massive amount of information is available to anyone with access to the Internet, it is really worrisome on what type of "research" this girl would be able to do. The Internet certainly does not lack all kinds of theory on what global warming is. Instead of following something that has been scientifically tested following the scientific process, this girl very well could obtain a lot of information that has no scientific credibility whatsoever. So, my question is, how do we make sure that voices of scientists are heard, and more importantly, put into action?

  • May 3 2011: Well, maybe sometimes it would be better that scientists are not heard? :-) There is allways the missunderstanding that science itself would conclude to better solutions - but most times to ask good questions is the real problem wich should be considered first?