What’s a scientist to do?

By James Balog http://climatedesk.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/GL-7-08-001609.jpg.  "Bubbles of ancient air rise from Greenland Ice Sheet as it melts, July 14, 2008. The black substance is cryoconite."
By James Balog http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/09/melting-arctic-ice-photo-gallery-james-balog via Mother Jones. “Bubbles of ancient air rise from Greenland Ice Sheet as it melts, July 14, 2008. The black substance is cryoconite.”

As a follow-up to the previous post, I wanted to share an excellent NYTimes article published yesterday that also asks, “What’s a scientist to do?”  but this one is regarding climate change.  Thanks to the AGua reader who passed this along.  Here’s a quote:

If scientists choose not to engage in the public debate, we leave a vacuum that will be filled by those whose agenda is one of short-term self-interest. There is a great cost to society if scientists fail to participate in the larger conversation — if we do not do all we can to ensure that the policy debate is informed by an honest assessment of the risks…This is hardly a radical position. Our Department of Homeland Security has urged citizens to report anything dangerous they witness: “If you see something, say something.” We scientists are citizens, too, and, in climate change, we see a clear and present danger.

And here’s the link to the full article, written by Michael Mann, a professor of meteorology and geoscience at Penn State University.  On a related note, if you haven’t seen the documentary “Chasing Ice” yet, I highly recommend it.  It’s about a scientist-turned-photographer, James Balog, who has dedicated his career and life to documenting climate change in a way that will help people understand it.  His epic and often dangerous mission brings us stunning time-lapse images of melting Arctic glaciers, which really helped me wrap my mind around the daunting scale and speed of the melting ice.  I think it’s a safe bet to say if you’re reading this blog, you want to see this movie.  Here’s the trailer:


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