Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara


Dean's Advisory Council Panel

"Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Science to Inform Public Policy"

Panelists: Satie Airamé, Steve Gaines, Lindsey Peavey

Monday, November 25, 2013
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

Satie Airamé
Assistant Dean, Academic Programs
Steve Gaines
Steve Gaines

Lindsey Peavey
PhD Student

Scientists live in a world where they relentlessly pursue facts and data and generally work hard to eliminate bias. Opinions in much of the non-scientific world, however, are formed with a strong infusion of bias and, often, few facts and no data. The resulting gap between scientific understanding and popular opinion can create roadblocks to progress on a wide range of environmental issues, including the need to move forward to prevent the most serious effects of climate change. This raises a question about the proper role of science: Should it be strictly limited to the pursuit of facts and new knowledge, or should it also include efforts to sway public opinion or public policy to reflect that knowledge? Further, what should scientists' role be in the public realm as we face increasingly serious, widespread and complex environmental challenges, even as opinions about how to solve them are increasingly polarized and entrenched? In other words, should scientists venture into advocacy or be content at their bench?

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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