Minutes of the March 16, 2010 Meeting
Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter

This month, in lieu of our regular Monday night meetings on the University of Tennessee Ag campus, everyone met on a Tuesday evening to attend an interesting seminar (part of the Hill Lecture Series) closely related to our group's science/weather outreach mission. Before the meeting, a few people met for dinner at Panera Bread near the UT campus, and discussed the upcoming science fair and AMS-SMC officer elections. After dinner, around twelve members met at the University of Tennessee's University Center where Richard Harris talked about "Covering Climate Change in a Changing Media Climate". Richard Harris is an award-winning journalist who reports on science for National Public Radio's news magazines: Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

The following was a synopsis of his talk: While almost all climate scientists agree that global warming is happening, there has been a decline in interest about doing something about this problem in recent years by the public. Has the political climate somehow soured people on this topic? Do people feel that it’s so big a problem, they now choose to bury their heads in the sand and not worry about it? The theme here is "almost all climate scientists agree it is happening, but there has been some disagreement on the extent of how much warming is taking place". The extent could have a great impact on the end results. What can we do to get the right messenger out there? Polls show we went from "some interest” to "most people being interested and believing it's happening” to now a big decrease in that number. What do we need to do to get people’s interest back on the issue before it’s too late? "We've lost the momentum on this very major problem, and somehow we need to get it back" was the basic theme of this talk. Mr. Harris summed up his talk with two basic questions: "What can we do to get people back to caring and believing global warming is real and is happening?" and "Who will be the right messenger?"

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