Monday, December 26, 2011

The airing of grievances

A large number of folks spent December 24th and 25th writing rather animated responses to the post of our short video on climate change and lake ice. In honour of traditional Festivus "airing of grievances", I've published many of the comments, and will continue to do so, even though in many cases I disagree with the contents, the tone and the writer's choice to remain anonymous.

A number of comments, however, were rejected because they were in extremely poor taste. I try to keep a civilized tone on the blog. Regular readers will know that on the blog and in my professional work I consistently argue that climate scientists should be humble and use civilized tone. I expect the same from commenters. Let's have an adult conversation and not resort to anonymous personal insults.

In light of this episode, there will be no more anonymous comments on Maribo.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Climate change and the holiday season

This short video, made with the help of my great undergraduate assistant Cory Kleinschmidt, tells the story of how climate change might be affecting a holiday tradition among many Canadian families, including my own.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

60 Minutes on Coral Reefs and the challenge of depicting ocean acidification

This weekend's 60 Minutes featured this great segment on coral reefs, in which a well-protected "Gardens of the Queen" in Cuba are used a possible example of a resilient reef ecosystem.

The segment touches on coral bleaching, though perhaps not with the authority or depth that is warranted by science. What's most striking, however, is that the segment does not even mention ocean acidification.

I'm sure the media conspiracy theorists might claim this all as evidence a U.S. network shying away from discussing "controversial" subjects like climate change. But I suspect something else is at play, and it is something that science communicators everywhere need to consider. This is television - you need engaging, interesting video. Just how do you film ocean acidification? It's a slow, invisible process, nothing like the exciting action shots of the host and scientists diving among sharks and lionfish.

This is not a criticism - it is a challenge. What are the best ways for documentarians to capture the effect of changing ocean chemistry on coral reefs?