Sunday, May 4, 2014

Communication in a divided world: reinforcing insularity

A new piece I wrote just came out in Nature Geoscience.

It's a commentary that covers some of the impediments to communicating global change science.

I focus on climate change and ranchers, but there are some broader messages to take away here.

For me, the novel nugget here was the idea of reinforcing insularity. The social networks of individuals can reinforce an understanding of a topic in a way that can be hard to disrupt.

For livestock managers, there are a number of interactions that can reinforce a set of views on climate change. Ranchers have a set of views and these can be reinforced by what media they consume, while media outlets tailor messages to their audience. Ranchers also influence their governmental representatives, who draft policies that reflect the opinions of their constituents.

Still, the message is hopeful. A number of instances show that there might be more alignment of interests than has been commonly recognized.

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