President’s update

Thank you to Joan Leach for the President’s update.

First off, a hearty thank you to those who joined fellow ASC members in Brisbane for the 2014 conference.  I’m still buzzing after the conversations I had and the presentations I heard.  Claire Harris and Kali Madden, joined with countless volunteers, put on a conference to remember.  We’ll be looking at the conference feedback/evaluations to help us plan for the future.  If you didn’t get a chance to do the evaluation and have something you’d like to tell us about your conference experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Given that this is our 20th anniversary year, we’re planning a few more events around Australia over the next 10 months.  As these plans solidify, I’ll make sure they are advertised in SCOPE as well as on our social media platforms and website.  We are hoping that these events will be low-cost for members but will be useful as well as engaging.  Again, if you, your local branch of ASC, or your organisation is interested in partnering with ASC to explore some area of science communication, I’d like to hear about it and try to make it happen.

At the conference, I mentioned a book that I read late last year that pretty much blew me away.  That is really saying something as I can be as jaded as the next academic!  Several of you have followed up with me to say that they, too, found it powerful or wanted to seek it out (at their local independent bookshop, of course).  The book is Global Crisis:  War, Climate Change, and Catastrophe in the 17th Century and the author is Geoffrey Parker.  It was published in 2013 with Yale University Press.  The book explores the ‘little ice age’ of the 17th century and the political, social, and human costs of climate variability–not only for the Europeans, but also for those in China and South America (where extensive records were kept).  Even if you’re not a history buff, the stories that Parker relates about how some of the greatest thinkers and communicators of the age despaired are quite moving and remarkable.  And while it would be too easy to draw direct comparisons with our age, Parker’s use of data and storytelling are models for science communicators engaged in climate adaptation.  I don’t recommend too many books as ‘must haves’ but this one is worth sharing.

In closing, I’d like to encourage you to revisit the ASC website.  We’re trying to set up some ‘interest group’ areas for discussion of topics that interest you.  If you’re considering setting up an interest group, we’d like to help.