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VA-Barometern 2017/18 from Vetenskap and Allmänhet – Let’s Talk About Climate Change Comments Emily Boyd

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It is heartening that people want to talk to scientists about climate change, but very worrying that women’s trust in researchers is declining, says Emily Boyd, Director of LUCSUS, commenting on the results from the yearly VA Barometer, that was released yesterday.

She notes that the fact that climate change is a topic which people want to talk to scientist about is a very positive and heartening result.

- It highlights that climate change is now firmly on the societal agenda, in spite of for example Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. For us, as climate scientists, this is a call to action. We have to reach out to the world outside of academia and show that we want to start these conversations.

Emily Boyd says that the means of reaching out can take on many different forms, through chats to friends, and friends of friends, to informal seminars and workshops. 

- The approaching Christmas holidays are a great opportunity to get these conversations going. We can all share our knowledge and expertise, and take the time to listen to what people outside academia think and feel about climate change and sustainability challenges.

Yet, she notes that the results from the barometer that show that women’s trust in researchers is declining, and that fewer women want to work as researchers in the future, are very worrying.

- It might be too early to say if this trend will continue into the next year. Either way, it is important to find out why women feel like this. Is this something we at the University can do anything about? Do these results relate to the debate about alternative facts or other developments to discredit research?

She ponders that having more vocal women scientists visible in the media might be one way of combating these results.

- We can act as role models and leaders in our field. I think this is absolutely essential. It could be key in enticing more women to the profession, and also to increase their trust in research in general. Especially, engaging with young girls so that they feel that academia is a place for them too, she concludes.

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