Calling All Scientists...
In hot-button scientific topics fear, skepticism and misinformation are manufactured by a clever group of activists, authors, documentarians and TV personalities that profit from generating false risk. These individuals have tremendous influence on the general public that is susceptible to such messaging, as fear resonates well in a safe and satisfied culture.
The Bio-talk-nowledge-y program is designed to help scientists learn the facts about biotechnology and then better communicate them. Recombinant DNA technologies are used to create our medicines, generate the enzymes to process cheese, and produce crops that help maintain profitable farming. They have helped farmers compete and cut insecticide use. They could be doing more to help the environment. They could be improving food for consumers. They could be doing wonderful things for the developing world. However, this technology is frozen in a slow approval process and limited number of products that stop it from realizing its potential. The technologies have been in used safely and effectively for many years. However, the public remains skeptical, if not afraid of these technologies.
The same holds true for issues of anthopogenic climate change, vaccination and evolution, among other issues. In all of these cases a firm scientific consensus shows that these ideas are well supported by data, or associated technologies are safe and effective.
The solution is to connect to emerging efforts in biotech communication with scientists and lay people fired up about talking to a curious public. There have been many lessons from the last ten years and it is possible, and necessary, to tool up fast and get into the discussion.