Sustainable Science Communication Conference

Event Date: 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 -
7:00pm to 9:00pm
Thursday, May 14, 2015 -
9:00am to 5:00pm

Event Date Details: 

Movie Merchants of Doubt in Pollock Theater, Wednesday May 13, 7-9 pm

Conference in Corwin Pavilion, Thursday May 14, 9am-5pm

Event Price: 

Free!  However, reserve movie tickets at

We invite you to an interdisciplinary conference of presentations and discussions on "Sustainable Science Communication" May 13 and 14, 2015. The event begins with the new documentary Merchants of Doubt [1] and audience discussion beginning at 7pm May 13 in the elegant Pollock Theater [2] (reserve your free tickets).

The conference itself consists of four panels (Content, Audience, Media, Impact) on May 14 beginning at 9:30am at UC Santa Barbara’s Corwin Pavilion. The conference and discussions will cover approaches from multiple academic research disciplines, community organizations, and practitioners.

The conference title “Sustainable Science Communication” emphasizes two complementary issues.  The first is “sustainable science” and the second is sustainable “science communication.”

Sustainable Science. The transition to a sustainable society will require a “third industrial revolution”, in which manufacturing, transportation and communication are conducted within constraints imposed by resource availability and supply risk; limitations on energy and freshwater consumption; and knowledge about the environmental fate and transport of components. According to Paul Anastas, one of the founders of the green chemistry movement, such a transition implies no less than the “the redesign of…the material that is at the basis of our society and our economy”. The substitution of conventional technologies by more sustainable versions should be achieved in a manner that maximizes long-term benefits while minimizing short-term disruption.

Sustainable Science Communication.  Related to this particular issue, but also to environmental and other science-based issues, scientists, engineers, and technology developers in particular and academics in general must become able to communicate clearly to other scientists within and across their disciplines, the public, business leaders, government officials, and policy-makers.  Effective communication about science content, choices, and consequences requires the awareness, development, understanding, and application of ongoing theory, research, and evaluation about effective messaging and an appreciation of barriers that impede science-based decision-making. That is, rather than sound bites, personal preferences, and technical reports, we need a sustainable, shared, and constantly improving basis for deciding how best to communicate the complex and subtle issues of science that affect individuals, communities, institutions, society, and the world. 

This conference is organized as part of two UCSB initiatives.  The first is UC Santa Barbara’s new Mellichamp Academic Initiative in Sustainability [3]. Dr. Susannah Scott is the Director of the Initiative and the first Mellichamp Chair in Sustainability.  The second is the biannual Arthur N. Rupe conference [4]. Dr. Ronald E. Rice is the Rupe Professor in Social Effects of Mass Communication.

Co-sponsors include the Environmental Media Initiative of the Carsey-Wolf Center [5], and a year-long series on The Anthropocene sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center [6]. See  [7] for more details.

The conference will be filmed and available through UCTV – the University of California’s video distribution system (cable, satellite, on-demand streaming, and downloading) [7]. 

The first 2 of the 4 sessions are available at http://www.uctv.tv/shows/29770 and http://www.uctv.tv/shows/29771

Attendance is free; however, please reserve your movie tickets through the Carsey-Wolf website [2].

Please save the date!

[1] http://sonyclassics.com/merchantsofdoubt/;

[2] http://www.carseywolf.ucsb.edu/pollock/events/merchants-doubt;

[3] http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2014/013958/new-mellichamp-endowed-chair-cluster-ucsb-focuses-sustainable-manufacturing;

[4] http://www.comm.ucsb.edu/news/annual/arthur-n-rupe;

[5] http://www.carseywolf.ucsb.edu/emi;

[6] http://www.ihc.ucsb.edu/series/anthropocene/;

[7] http://sustech.ucsb.edu/sustainable-science-communication-conference and http://sustech.ucsb.edu/2015-science-communication-participants

[8] http://www.uctv.tv/search/?keyword=carsey-wolf&x=0&y=0

Questions? Contact: Susannah Scott (sscott@engineering.ucsb.edu) or Ronald E. Rice (rrice@comm.ucsb.edu)

Sustainable Science Communication Conference