The following are the guiding principles for posts on this website:
- Everyone who writes here will be a student. We have great respect for our professors, but we think it’s important to have a space where we can offer the public a student’s perspective on issues of environmental change and the scientific research process. As students, we have one foot in the world of research and the other still in the world of non-scientists; we still remember very clearly all of our initial feelings of excitement and confusion when we began to study science. We can help non-scientists navigate the questions that we had then and continue to have now precisely because we’re not quite yet scientists in our own right.
- We will not write on topics that we don’t know anything about. We will only write about topics that we have studied in depth either in a class or as a part of an independent research project.
- Jumping off of #2, we will include citations to reputable journalistic sources or textbooks for those who want to learn more about the topics we write about here. Even though our style of writing will be informal, we think it’s important to assure our readers that our information comes from trustworthy sources that they can investigate themselves if they would like to find out more.
- We will not pretend to be apolitical. Anyone who studies the natural sciences (or, really, just anyone) and thinks that they can be apolitical is kidding themselves. Let’s not forget that inquiries into the natural sciences have made possible human society as we know it—that these inquiries have given us both penicillin and the atomic bomb. What we study, how we study it, who funds us, and who gets access to our results—all of this is political. All of it has profound impacts on the way our society is organized and implications for how a better society should be organized. We have all chosen to study or research environmental issues because we believe that humans do have an impact on the non-human environment, that the environment only has a limited capacity to sustain continuous human-caused pollution, and that, when that capacity is exhausted, our own pollution can come back to bite us. This belief is not, in itself, a political stance: It’s common sense and historical fact: If you throw trash into a river, the water won’t be good to drink for very long. However, our implicit choice to attempt to help those who will be affected by environmental changes by trying to better understand and publicize the nature of human-caused impacts on the environment is a political stance, and we acknowledge it as such.
- Acknowledging our shared political stance on this issue does not mean that we all belong to any one political ideology nor that we will mix our other political beliefs into our science.
- Furthermore, we will be self-critical and open to new findings that might change the focus of our environmental concerns. Non-scientists might be surprised at how much time we spend in lab trying to prove ourselves wrong, trying to prove that what we’re seeing in our data is the result of a flawed experimental design or instrumentation error. We are always reminding ourselves to take a step back and ask ourselves if our data support the conclusions we’re drawing. Rigorous, time-consuming experimentation to make sure that our results are valid is an essential part of the scientific process—and is the reason why we think non-scientists can have faith in our conclusions.