Reflective component

1. What about human nature allows groupings of society to value opinion over fact, … and in what ways can individuals facilitate advances in their social groups to bolster a respect for science?

2. What is the role of blogs and “opinion-piece journalism” in the short-term and long-term dissemination of facts? In what ways are blogs a good platform to share scientific information, and in what ways are they deficient? Why do we use story telling to impart facts?

3. Would you stay or would you go: You are significantly invested in your beautiful waterfront home. During big storm events ocean water reaches your lower deck and is threatening the foundation of your home and access to the beach. During low tide you can still access the beach but don’t know when that will change. What would you do, and how might this direct threat influence your actions (personal, social, political, etc.)?

4. Can data be disputed? Why do scientists always need more data? Should scientists be held accountable for adverse environmental outcomes (including natural disasters)?

5. Most glaciologists that I know think that ice-sheet contribution to sea-level rise is potentially both a threat and also an unknown. “How much? How fast?”. The unknown part of the problem is when significant ice-sheet contribution may happen, and the potential of what we don’t know to inhibit collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is also an open question. Scientists are not policy makers, and are not paid to be advocates. Some scientists are very outspoken about societal implications of their work, taking a public stance and are good at drawing attention to the issue, but should this be the “norm” rather than the “exception” as a role for scientists? What about for non-scientists? (For example, Leonardo DiCaprio: What do you think scientists could do differently knowing what they know and knowing the potential sea-level contribution from Antarctica?

6. Had you considered previously what is involved to collect ice-sheet field data? Would you participate in polar field work? For example, more stories at:
What about wintering over on the Greenland Ice Sheet with only three other people? What about spending one year at South Pole?

7. We have used historical photos, paintings, and archaeology to map out past extents of glaciers. What other information sources may be available to complement scientific measurements? For example, what is the role of native knowledge in quantifying climate change?

8. What is going to be in your earthquake prepardness kit? And we aren’t obviously doomed… worth knowing that UW is home to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and this team of researchers is leading in an Earthquake Early Warning system:

9. Start thinking about adaptation…What if the ice-sheet models do not agree about whether more ice loss will occur first from Greenland, or from Antarctica, or both. Knowing about the heterogenity of sea-level rise how should cities / countries / international agencies respond?

10. What could be done in education, outreach, and other forms of communication to increase the trust in science and the understanding of what it means to be a scientist?

11. In what ways can individuals and communities become more resilient to future change? How might strategies like this differ in anticipation of catastrophic events compared to change that occurs over many years to decades?

12. Should we attempt mitigation of climate change, and therefore sea-level change? If so, when do we start and who should oversee these efforts? Who is responsible for any adverse outcomes?

13. What did you learn and will keep from this quarter, about science and about society? Did your own perspective change, and in what ways?