The Southeast Florida Evidence-based Science Communication Initiative

The Southeast Florida Science Communication Initiative furnishes evidence-based science communication support to the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact.

Members of the Compact—Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe Counties—are engaged in an interlocking set of programs consistent with Florida’s Community Planning Act of 2011, which directs all municipal subdivisions in the state to update their Comprehensive Plans to protect public health and resources from “impacts of rising sea levels” including “coastal flooding due to extreme high tides and storm surge.”

Each member County has adopted the Regional Climate Action Plan, which identifies a schedule of 110 action items, the implementation which is now the subject of ongoing deliberations inside of the region’s local governing bodies.

The goals of Southeast Florida Evidence-based Science Communication Initiative are two. The first is to advance the Compact’s interest in facilitating science-informed public deliberations.

A diverse range of stakeholders—from local businesses to individual property-owners, from professional and civic associations to public-interest NGOs—are participating in the Compact’s planning and decisionmaking process. The Compact is committed to serving as a science-intelligence broker for all these groups, along with the region’s highly engaged citizenry generally, amassing and supplying them with the evidence they need to make informed decisions.

Consistent with these goals, the Initiative is committed to furnishing support for any science communication need on the part of the Compact that admits of advancement by evidence-based means.

It has assembled a team of social scientists—from Yale and other universities—with appropriate forms of expertise, including graphic and related forms of data presentation; the analysis of public risk perception dynamics; the design of communication strategies and materials; the development of multimedia communication material suitable for the internet and television; and the use of structured deliberation procedures geared toward promoting open-minded engagement with scientific evidence.

The second Initiative goal is to generate an instructive and inspiring model of what evidence-based science communication looks like.

At the conclusion of the Initiative, CCP will make all of the research materials generated in the course of the Initiative available to the public.

By documenting how the Compact has used the signature methods of science to assure the region’s citizens would get the benefit of the immense knowledge at their disposal, the Initiative aims to demonstrate the value of integrating the science of science communication into the practice of self-government.

By freely sharing the insights generated by the Compact’s self-conscious use of these methods, the Inititiative hopes to inspire others involved in like activities to reciprocate by freely contributing what they’ve learned to the stock of collective knowledge available to all those committed to perfecting the experience of enlightened self-government.

In 2013-16, the Initiative has been funded by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, a leading sponsor of genuine evidence-based science communication.

Among the Compact’s sponsors is the Institute for Sustainable Communities, which is dedicated to empowering local communities in the U.S. and around the world to use scientific knowledge to secure the ends of healty, safe, and prosperous lives for their members.

Relevant research:

Kahan, D.M. Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem. Advances in Political Psychology 36, 1-43 (2015).

Return to Evidence-based Science Communication Initiative main page

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