Recently Published: Getting to the Heart of Science Communication by Faith Kearns

Getting to the Heart of Science Communication book cover

Getting to the Heart of Science Communication book cover

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Faith Kearns delivers a succinct, engaging guide to equip scientists with the skills and tools to communicate about issues that are emotional and contentious.

The book holds lessons for anyone who wants to take on the challenge of talking about loaded scientific topics”— Kate Yoder, "Grist"WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES, May 13, 2021 / -- From climate change to COVID-19, scientists working on controversial issues are frequently finding themselves in the middle of polarizing or traumatizing conflicts. It is no longer enough for scientists to communicate clearly about a scientific topic: they must be experts in navigating the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of members of the public they engage with as well as their own colleagues.

In "Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement" (Publication Date: May 11, 2021), Faith Kearns delivers a succinct, engaging guide to equip scientists with the skills and tools they need to communicate about issues that are deeply emotional and contentious. Using interviews and personal anecdotes from a diverse group of practitioners, as well as her own insights as a field scientist, Kearns explores the changing nature of science communication in the twenty-first century and argues for an approach where science communicators treat conflict, emotion, and trauma as critical factors when sharing information.

Kearns presents science communicators with key tools, from developing relationship-centered communication to the importance of utilizing ethical listening in science communication practice. She also addresses how to engage and work with conflicts, like climate change or water resource allocation, as well as the need for science communicators to understand how trauma, loss, grief, and healing impact communities.

"Getting to the Heart of Science Communication" concludes with a substantive discussion on reforms needed to make science and science communication more inclusive, equitable, and just. Kearns also offers readers advice on handling their own emotional needs in an unpredictable career landscape. Throughout the book, Kearns highlights the stories of a diverse range of science communicators working in often-contentious situations, including Laura Snell, a rangeland scientist working on the issue of wild horse populations, and Mila Marshall, a doctoral candidate in ecology who worked with a Chicago nature center on culturally appropriate nature education.

Kearns’ meticulously researched book takes science communication to the next level, helping scientists see the value of listening as well as talking, understanding power dynamics in relationships, and addressing the roles of trauma and healing. "Getting to the Heart of Science Communication" will particularly resonate with early-to mid-career scientists, graduate students, and researchers, especially those in applied sciences who work closely with the public.

Faith Kearns is a scientist and science communication practitioner who focuses primarily on water, wildfire, and climate change in the western United States. Her work has been published in "New Republic," "On Being", "Bay Nature," and more. She has been working in the science communication field for more than 25 years, starting with the Ecological Society of America and going on to serve as a AAAS Science and Policy Fellow at the US Department of State, manage a wildfire research and outreach center at the University of California, Berkeley, and bridge science and policy advocacy efforts at the Pew Charitable Trusts. She currently works with the California Institute for Water Resources. Kearns holds an undergraduate environmental science degree from Northern Arizona University, and a doctorate in environmental science, policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley.

Getting to the Heart of Science Communication: A Guide to Effective Engagement
Island Press Paperback Original | Publication Date: May 11, 2021
280 pages | 6x9 | Price: $30.00
ISBN: 978-1-64283-074-3
Book Page:

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