Chemophobia & chemistry in the modern world
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM (EST)
Woods Hole, MA
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
In today's advertising and pop culture, words like "chemical", "synthetic" and "artificial" are synonyms for harmful, toxic and carcinogenic, while words like "natural" and "organic" imply a product is wholesome and good for the environment. This widespread misconception colors public perceptions of chemistry and its role in the modern world. Chemophobia may not be as direct a threat to our future as, say, climate change denialism or the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, but it clouds public understanding of real and very important issues we face (e.g., how to boost agricultural productivity) and plays into the hands of quacks and cranks. How can bloggers and the media effectively combat chemophobia? How much chemistry does the public need to know to be well-informed and make good decisions, and what's the most effective avenue for disseminating that kind of information? Proposed session hashtag: #chemophobia
Questions to discuss:
How important is it to confront misuse of the term 'chemical' vs general fearmongering?
What're good tips for writing about chemophobia without preaching to the choir?
How can bloggers have a clear message as they confront diverse chemophobes (anti-vax, anti-GMO, etc)?
When & Where
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans' role in the changing global environment.