As part of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), self-described “snarky” Professor Laurel Whitney gave the following presentation about leveraging humor in climate communication.
Professor Whitney’s DeSmogBlog’s bio provides a window on her self-deprecating alternative approach to communications. Rather than emphasizing that she teaches “climate change issues” or such to university students,
she gets to depress aspiring freshman about how the world is riding a flaming rollercoaster towards ecological disaster
And, she evidently was scratching her head in confusion listening to climate-denial talking as she looks back on her education and attendance of (well, too many?) academic conferences:
Laurel takes the newfangled attack on scientific integrity quite personally as she doesn’t ever remember taking a class on How to Make Up and Manipulate Your Data 101 or How to Get Rich Off of Government Research Contracts 110 while attaining her multiple science degrees
Professor Whitney’s discussion is interesting and, as is she generally, insightful. As I watched, one subtext indicated the necessity of actually paying attention to her — while climate change is certainly a serious (extremely, terrifyingly, overwhelmingly, etc … serious) issue, there does not seem to have been a single laugh from the the AGU session’s attendees. Perhaps Professor Whitney might wish to add another message to those attendees and other climate scientists — lighten up a little bit, it might help get people to pay more attention to climate change and the necessity for action.
UPDATE: A tweet from “Snarky” Professor Whitney:
— Laurel Whitney (@Laurel_Whitney) July 9, 2013