Anne Jefferson is finding ways to address the human side of climate science and stormwater management. Stormwater runoff, which carries urban, agricultural and industrial pollutants into waterways, has devastating consequences for water quality and ecosystems. Climate change increases the volume and velocity of the runoff, worsening flooding and pollution. Concrete steps can be taken, yet “we are not doing nearly enough to manage urban runoff,” says Jefferson. Broader dialogue among scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders about stormwater issues and urban climate resilience is needed. In addition, Jefferson, an associate professor of geology at Kent State University, says social science should be used more often to assess people’s responses to programs and how this influences implementation.
Naomi Oreskes has a question for scientists that many have been asking themselves already: should they speak up on politically sensitive topics, or should they let the facts of their research speak for themselves? In her plenary address at the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting, Oreskes said facts alone do not speak very well without context when it comes to issues such as climate change. Scientists should consider themselves as sentinels, she said, responsibly raising the alarm to government officials and others about what the data show and even offering possible solutions to science-based problems.