One of the aspects of the conversation that stood out to me was the idea that science should not be considered in a vacuum because that is detrimental to change. When I first arrived at Harvard as a freshman, one of the most disorienting changes that I observed was how pervasive the “let’s constantly make new theories/analogies/frameworks about everything” was. This certainly makes sense in many academic settings, but it wasn’t simply in the classroom. What we learned in our rhetoric classes bled into daily conversations and something as simple as “Hey, I like XYZ show and think you should watch it too” turned into “I like this show for x, y, and z and anyone who is into xxx would also like it. According to some reviewers, it’s a metaphor for this, but I think it’s a representation of this.” Every small situation in life became one to carefully dissect, synthesize, and then digest, sometimes through seemingly abstract or baseless means.
My point is certainly not to slight these (often, over) analyses – quite the opposite, these are what have spurred my own critical thinking substantially. However, I also believe that there is considerable merit in acting upon these frameworks. The greatest ideas or discoveries can never reach others to effect change if one only spends time looking to find something else to synthesize. Similarly, I think that most of the perceived elitism that is associated with the scientific community stems from the notion that the only reason scientists are making a claim is that they must always be making a claim, whether the world needs to hear about it. In the wake of the climate crisis, this attitude could spell disaster.
· How has the notion that movies like the “Day After Tomorrow” is mostly apocalyptic as opposed to a real scientific possibility changed (or not changed) public perception on the climate crisis? If it hasn’t changed public perception or changed it in a negative way, what further steps can be taken in the future to ensure that these stories and ideas are taken more seriously?
· A lot of the topics you discussed seemed to be at the intersection of psychology, environmental science, and economics. How robust is the field of behavioral environmentalism within the scientific community? What has the public reaction been, if any, to the output from these fields?
· What has the history of using positive vs. negative “marketing” been used when encouraging people to be environmentally conscious?