Climate Crisis Learning News

#FollowAClimateScientist: How To Talk About the Climate (Not Just the Weather)

Climate science

In the Anthropocene, climate scientists have to deal with one of the most challenging and emotionally draining jobs out there, yet they are constantly subjected to intimidation, threats, and abuse. It can be on social media, in the streets, in the workplace, in the mainstream media. To name just a few places.  

Following a Climate Scientist on a social media platform is a simple gesture, but one that can create a trend, a viral climate story, and strengthen the climate science hub online. In an article published on Fast Company in 2017, Paige Jarreau, a science communication specialist at Louisiana State University, said the following: “I tell academics that social media is now the top source of science information for people (…) And they are a trusted voice for people that don’t have that background and literacy.” Indeed, being on social media as a scientist is a good way to “engage the public and clear up misinformation.”

For the coming months we pledge to share important tweets from climate scientists and other scientists researching the climate crisis. We hope you’ll join us in our endeavour.

Here are some of the things you can do to alleviate the status quo:

1. Follow them on social media

It’s not much, but we can actually help them by just paying attention to their work, discoveries, and stories. Let’s not forget that most mainstream media have failed to inform and educate the general public on the climate crisis, and many politicians don’t want to pay attention to scientists in general (and the climate ones in particular) unless it serves their agendas. So, how about we take the important task of paying attention to what they have to say, to the data, and the facts they have to share?

By following at least one climate scientist you’ll also improve your climate literacy, which will come in handy during those climate debates (do they still do this!?).

2. Like, comment, retweet. Join the conversations!

Show your support for their work while learning important information. Make climate scientists big enough so they get more calls from mainstream media (among other more important things, like making celebrities out of people that actually have something important to say).

Big plus: Remember that these people are smart and cool and, you know, they’ve been to places that you can only see in your dreams.

Last, but not least
: Yes, they are on social media because they want to engage with the public. That’s you.

Where can you start?
You can start here, with the scientists featured in this unsettling Esquire magazine article published in 2015: “When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job”. We’ve added to the selection other amazing scientists we’re already following on Twitter.

Although they are not always allowed to share information about what they work on, we guarantee that climate scientists are exceptional at explaining what happens to the climate, to that very thin layer of gases surrounding the Earth, to the fast-flowing glaciers, the Arctic icebergs, to yesterday and tomorrow.

In no particular order:

Jason Box

“ice climatologist at Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, contemplating Greenland, Arctic and global climate issues. Views here my own. :-)”

Michael E. Mann

“Climate Scientist, Professor & Director of the Penn State ESSC; Author of Dire Predictions, The Hockey Stick & the Climate Wars, and The Madhouse Effect”

Gavin Schmidt

“Climate scientist, occasional juggler, even more occasional author, curious about how the world works.”

Katharine Hayhoe

“Not suspicious, just Canadian. Climate scientist, @TTUCSC director, poli sci prof, knitter, pastor’s wife, mom. TIME100 + Fortune50. First in line for cloning.”

Peter Jacobs

“Past & future climate & marine ecosystems. #SciComm. Views = mine.”

Ed Hawkins

“Climate scientist at University of Reading | Creator of climate spirals & warming stripes | IPCC AR6 Lead Author | Leads  | Views own”

Zeke Hausfather

“U.S. Analyst, Carbon Brief. Climate Scientist with a focus on instrumental temperature data and model/observation comparisons. U.C. Berkeley/Berkeley Earth.”

Kevin Anderson

“Professor of energy and climate change – interested in translating the science of climate change into carbon budgets, policy goals and mitigation options.”

Peter Neff  

“Ice cores, glaciology. PNW’er . Pacific-Antarctic. Climate science. Postdoc @UW @UW_ESS @UWEnvironment. Tweet at a scientist! Views mine. [he/him]”

Alice Larkin

“Professor of Climate Science & Energy Policy. Research low carbon shipping, aviation, energy systems and the water-energy-food nexus.”

Peter Kalmus

“Climate scientist living on 1/10th the fossil fuel. Clouds, eco-forecasting. Book: Being the Change: Live Well & Spark a Climate Revolution views=mine”

These are just a few names out of the many climate scientists on social media. Katharine Hayhoe even put together a list of more than 2300 climate scientists on Twitter. So you can follow one climate scientist, or thousands. Please use and share this list.
And, as always, we’d love to hear more suggestions from you.

Don’t forget: Every time you follow a climate scientist use this hashtag #FollowAClimateScientist. You can also do this when you excitedly retweet a climate tweet you find interesting and useful. Thank you.

Join us on Twitter and let’s all talk more about the climate.

Featured image via Shutterstock

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