Conservation Science and Advocacy for a Planet in Peril

Conservation Science and Advocacy for a Planet in Peril

Speaking Truth to Power

1st Edition - August 18, 2021

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  • Editor: Dominick DellaSala
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128129883
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128129890

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Conservation Science and Advocacy for a Planet in Peril: Speaking Truth to Power helps equip scientists working on environmental and sustainability challenges with new tactics for success. Global efforts and cooperation by member states of environmental conventions have steadily increased but lack efficient and scalable mechanisms of translating conservation science to policy. The gap between science and policy is growing and very little time remains before the climate change and biodiversity lossess trigger widespread disruptions of the planet's life support systems. This book covers these important topics, providing a must read for environmental and conservation scientists, climate change activists, students, social scientists, economic professionals, sustainable businesses and policymakers.

Key Features

  • Provides an unprecedented collection of local, regional, and national case studies from scientists and practitioners engaged in outreach to decision makers and the public
  • Covers personal accounts that bring science into policymaking, providing usable guidelines for those working to bridge this gap
  • Includes the requisite information needed for effective communications and campaign strategies by sharing lessons learned


Environmental activists and conservation scientists and students, social scientists, economic professionals, sustainable businesses, and policy makers

Table of Contents

  • Cover image
  • Title page
  • Table of Contents
  • Copyright
  • List of contributors
  • Biographies
  • Foreword: uncensored science is crucial for global conservation
  • Science is needed today more than ever
  • Truth is the enemy of special interests
  • Censorship, as Dominick DellaSala realized in choosing chapters for this book, is a problem for conservation
  • Scientific reticence can amount to self-censorship
  • Something was wrong with ice sheet models
  • I was stunned by the model result
  • In 2007, I read papers of geologist Paul Hearty and initiated correspondence with him
  • Providentially, I was invited to give the Bjerknes lecture at the American Geophysical Union meeting in 2008
  • Karina von Schuckmann analyzes data from thousands of Argo floats that were distributed around the world ocean during the first decade of this century
  • How could we make the sea level threat and its implications clearer?
  • Resistance by scientists to scientific discovery is widely acknowledged, even though it clashes with the vision of science as open-minded and unbiased
  • Blackballing by grand poohbahs includes both resistance to discovery and censorship
  • Reframing was based on real-world data
  • Late in 2014—during the holidays—I received a message from an angel (Douglas Durst)
  • Referee responses to Ice Melt varied
  • Prior analyses of ocean circulation focused on AMOC
  • Shutdown of SMOC is a powerful feedback
  • Precipitation feedback is also important
  • Mother nature threw a curve ball
  • Let us consider the main threats of climate change, the implications for policy, and the benefits that will accrue from positive action
  • The United States and China must cooperate
  • Follow the science, not popularism
  • Let me give a second example of popularism
  • President Biden has invigorated the climate issue in the United States
  • Speaking truth to power: closing thoughts
  • Further reading
  • Preface
  • Section I: Scientists as Advocates: Advocacy Should not be a Four-Letter Word
  • 1. The nuts and bolts of science-based advocacy
  • Abstract
  • A revolution in scientific thinking
  • What’s at risk?
  • Taking the planetary Hippocratic Oath to avoid silent complicity
  • Applying the precautionary principle
  • What is the best available science?
  • How we communicate matters
  • Speaking Truth to Power: Who Speaks for the Earth?
  • References
  • 2. When scientists are attacked: strategies for dissident scientists and whistleblowers
  • Abstract
  • Contrarians and dissidents
  • Challenging the dominant forestry paradigm: a case study
  • Before you dissent
  • Getting your ideas out
  • After the first blow lands
  • Continuing the fight
  • Speaking Truth to Power
  • References
  • Further Reading
  • 3. Sounding the climate alarm—scientists and politics
  • Abstract
  • The context
  • The science
  • The politics
  • The economics
  • The scientists
  • Speaking truth to power
  • References
  • Further reading
  • 4. Science integrity and environmental decision-making in Canada: a fragile renaissance
  • Abstract
  • Scientific integrity and public policy
  • Fabrications versus facts: how scientists can defend scientific integrity
  • Scientific integrity in Canada: a dark age
  • Recovering scientific integrity and environmental governance
  • References
  • 5. Blowing the whistle on political interference: the Northern Spotted Owl
  • Abstract
  • In the beginning, there was the owl
  • What the owl needs
  • How a 46-cm bird stopped the timber industry in its tracks
  • The politics of the Northwest Forest Plan and owl recovery
  • Wildfire as the new flexibility excuse
  • Distinguishing cause from effect: is wildfire a threat or an excuse to log?
  • What’s next for the owl and the Northwest Forest Plan
  • We all lose when scientific integrity takes a back seat
  • Speaking Truth to Power
  • References
  • Section II: An Imperfect Marriage: Policy and Science
  • 6. Overcoming the politics of endangered species listings
  • Abstract
  • The US Endangered Species Act—a global model
  • What species qualify for threatened and endangered status under the ESA
  • Delays and failure to list species under the ESA start early
  • Public pressure gains protection for species
  • Case studies of political interference in the listing process
  • Greater Sage Grouse
  • Montana arctic grayling
  • Streaked Horned Lark
  • References
  • 7. Scientific integrity and advocacy: keeping the government honest
  • Abstract
  • When politics invades the weather forecast
  • Science has always been political
  • Political and industry pressure on science ramps up
  • Building a movement to defend science
  • Monitoring the federal government
  • Candidates and their commitments
  • Public access to government knowledge
  • Defending scientific integrity abroad
  • Scientific integrity and the Trump administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency attempts to remove science and science advice
  • The future of scientific integrity reform
  • Speaking truth to power: experts as advocates
  • References
  • 8. Why advocate—and how?
  • Abstract
  • Why advocate
  • How to advocate
  • Science-based advocacy implications
  • Speaking truth to power: closing thoughts
  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • 9. Climate reality leadership
  • Abstract
  • Keep hope alive
  • The problem
  • Climate deniers
  • The solution
  • Climate Reality Project
  • International chapters
  • Global change can happen
  • Speaking truth to power: thoughts and solutions
  • References
  • Section III: The Politics of Science in Decision Making
  • 10. Out of the ivory tower: campaign-based science messaging for the public
  • Abstract
  • Does science matter?
  • Snowball climate denial
  • The politicization of science
  • Scientists as storytellers
  • The Cannabis Removal on Public Lands story: a case study in science-based campaigns
  • Speaking truth to power: closing thoughts
  • References
  • 11. Essays from the trenches of science-based activism
  • Abstract
  • How the Trump Administration tried to cancel the Interior Department
  • Why scientists should talk to elected officials
  • Lobbying 101: tips to effective legislative advocacy online
  • 12. Shifting the burden of proof to minimize impacts during the science-policy process
  • Abstract
  • Who should carry the burden of proof during an adaptive management process?
  • The DNR HCP: Marbled Murrelet Long-Term Conservation Strategy
  • Forest Practices HCP: unstable slopes and landslide hazards
  • The science and policy surrounding the improvement of rules governing logging on potentially unstable slopes
  • The December 2007 storm
  • The 2014 Oso landslide
  • Board manual section 16 revision
  • Unstable slopes proposal initiation
  • An urgent call for precautionary forest climate policy
  • Speaking truth to power: who should carry the burden of proof during an adaptive management process?
  • References
  • 13. To zero emissions, and beyond? Oregon Stumbles forward
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Prologue: a tale of three sessions
  • Oregon’s changing climate
  • Fitful progress: Oregon’s coming to terms with climate change
  • Electricity—the Boardman chapter
  • Electricity—the end-of-coal chapter
  • Electricity—the capping carbon chapter
  • Transportation—Oregon loses its way
  • Forest carbon—an opportunity opens up
  • The Governor’s executive order
  • The why and wherefore: failures of governance and of imagination
  • References
  • 14. The politics of conservation—taking the biodiversity crisis to the streets
  • Abstract
  • The disconnect
  • Forcing change
  • Mobilization
  • Speaking truth to power: final thoughts
  • References
  • 15. When science is silenced: scientists fighting back against the politicization of their work
  • Abstract
  • Weaponized use of open records laws against scientists
  • Censorship of scientists for political reasons
  • Congressional abuse
  • Speaking truth to power: final thoughts
  • References
  • Further reading
  • 16. Speaking truth to power for the Earth
  • Abstract
  • Science as denial's antidote
  • Speaking truth to power vs. remaining complicit
  • Human and planet health are intertwined
  • A cosmic perspective
  • Speaking Truth to Power: Epilogue
  • References
  • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 450
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2021
  • Published: August 18, 2021
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128129883
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128129890

About the Editor

Dominick DellaSala

Dominick DellaSala
Dominick DellaSala, Ph. D, is Chief Scientist of Wild Heritage, a project of the Earth Island Institute, and former President of the Society for Conservation Biology, North America. He is an internationally renowned scholar of over 200 publications on forest ecology, endangered species, conservation biology, and climate change. Dominick has given keynote talks ranging from academic conferences to the United Nations Earth Summit. He has been featured in hundreds of news stories and documentaries, testified in the US congress numerous times, and received conservation leadership and book writing awards. He is on the editorial board of Elsevier’s Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, co-chief editor of Elsevier’s Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene, The World’s Biomes, and Encyclopedia of Conservation; Co-editor the Ecological Importance of Mixed Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix (Elsevier), editor and author of the award winning Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World: Ecology and Conservation; and subject editor of several scientific journals. He is driven by a passion to save life on Earth for his daughters, grandkids, and future generations.

Affiliations and Expertise

Chief Scientist, Wild Heritage, a project of the Earth Island Institute

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