What is it about?

Earth scientists are people who study our planet. They play an important role in conserving the environment. They study threats to our environment, and explain these to the general public and to governments. So they need to be good at communicating. This project looked at possible improvements to how earth scientists communicate. It compared three approaches from the business world: • ‘Make and sell’ (promoting a product you’ve already complete) • ‘Sense and respond’ (finding out what the market wants, and then creating and promoting that product) • 'Guide and co-create’ (involving customers in every part of the process so you are really creating the product together).

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Why is it important?

The environment today faces many threats, such as climate change, extreme natural events, and natural resources running out. How scientists explain these problems to other people is key to us making good decisions about how the future of our planet. Communication of research has tended to be the last point in the research process; a bit like the ‘make and sell’ approach above, you complete the research and then promote it to people. KEY TAKEAWAY: Scientists need to communicate effectively to people outside the academic circle. This will require some changes in focus and culture. The ‘guide and co-create’ approach is recommended as the best way to encourage people to accept and act on the findings of climate research.

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This page is a summary of: Selling planet Earth: re-purposing geoscience communications, Geological Society London Special Publications, January 2021, Geological Society, DOI: 10.1144/sp508-2020-101.
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