Real talk from a PhD student at 4am…

Hey guys, how are you doing?

I’m considering new ways to reach people to talk about science and the environment. If you have any ideas, hit me up! If I can find the time, I would like to make YouTube videos dedicated to science topics, maybe after the PhD. I see so many people blogging nowadays about anything and everything, and I sometimes feel a sense of guilt about not sharing my views on science and the environment enough!

Part of the reason is just that I am really swamped with the thesis, which is why I am writing this at 4am on a Tuesday morning. Trust me though, I could literally go on for days (some would say “rant”) about topics such as environmental degradation. I want to be the spokesperson on climate change for various audiences, young people in particular. I want them to say, “yeah I felt what he said, I liked his communication style, he definitely got my interest.” I want them to relate to me, whether it’s because they sense we came from a similar background (which we probably did), or are encouraged to aim for big things in their own lives. When I was in school, I can only think of one teacher that really inspired me. He was my biology teacher, and look what that turned into. I am considering moving sideways from straight academic research into more outreach stuff, although this takes a lot of careful planning (I will work it out soon).

What I really wanted to address here is the certain cost that having such a passion for addressing something like climate change (other epidemics too) can be associated with. We have so much evidence that shit is really going to hit the fan, but I get that environmental issues are more important to me than other people. They are the route I chose to go down, my work, my specific priorities. They are not the priorities of millions of other people worldwide. But whilst much of the scientific community seems to isolate itself from the outside world, useful communication with people on climate change issues could change their priorities (so tell as many people as you can until it gets embarrassing and then keep going)! But I’m not going to lie, it does get to me that popular news is not focused around stuff like ocean acidification (omg my spellcheck didn’t even know this word), and how many thousands of species have went extinct in the last 100 years because of us. Rather, it is engaged with Kim Kardashian’s clothing collection, gossip and damaging unconfirmed allegations against semi-famous people. It is pointless, sporadic, dangerous and unpredictable. A couple of weeks ago, the dentist who shot a famous African lion called Cecil was called “the most hated man on the internet”. Now nobody cares. This type of ADHD, click-bait, “everyone has their opinion and it must be shared” media is a real problem in general, but for dealing with things like climate change it’s a total nightmare (things that really need us to get educated, and hold down our attention for longer than 5 minutes for a greater good).

Let me give you a couple of personal but representative examples, conveying why a scientist might be prone to ranting in 2015. One time when I was swimming, a guy told me that climate change must be false because some guy in his taxi who “studied” science told him so. I’m like are you for real buddy?? Paying too much attention to internet nonsense also explains why, when my friend showed his friend the IPCC reports on recent and predicted global warming, the guy said “yeah but look at this” and tried to discard the main findings of the intergovernmental body on climate change, for some bullshit written on someone’s blog. And it probably explains how openly claiming that “climate change is a hoax”, does not pose a significant threat to Trump’s chances at becoming the next US president. #truth.

When you work so hard studying and learning about something for years, it can be difficult to see the level of misinformation existing in our society. But I have a real passion to help make this world a better place, stemming from a long education about things like climate change, and ultimately I feel a need (and some sort of entitlement) to share what I was fortunate to learn, and will continue to do so. And hopefully I can make a difference! I guess I already have in some individuals’ lives, but let’s see if we can take this a little bigger!!

Thanks for reading this! If you have any comments, please post them below, I will enjoy reading them.

Take care, Jordan xx

Comments (6)
  • Cecilia

    September 1, 2015

    Hi Jordan, first time that I read your post. Pretty eloquent for 4am writing! Great to see that the passion you exhibited on the ice breaker last year is still going strong a year later. Keep it going, the world needs more advocates! Cheers Cecilia

  • Gill

    September 1, 2015

    Hi Jordan, Inspiring post!
    I realize that climate change is a global problem, but are there places, groups etc. that are “doing things right”?
    (e.g. re-forestation, re-introducing wolves to Yellowstone etc.) I think that people are developing a protective shell around themselves and they just don’t want to listen to doom and gloom. When you show people how it IS possible to make a difference, then they are more likely to get on board with some enthusiasm.. As for misinformation, I guess that is really the dark side of the Internet. Try learning anything about autism for example!
    All the best,
    Gill
    .P.S..Sooke in December? 🙂

  • Marie-Pier

    September 2, 2015

    Hey Jordan 🙂
    Well, I just found out you have a blog, and it’s really great! I really do like your writing style, you made me laugh at some points. It takes people like you (who are really interested and passionate in the problem of climate change) to change the world. I agree with you, most of the time the news is about not really pertinent stuff. Kevin and I read the news sometimes, and we get tired easily because it’s almost all about politics or the new Videotron Centre. There are not enough articles about science.
    Good luck with your blog, and see ya 🙂
    Marie-Pier xx

    • Jordan

      September 2, 2015

      Hi Marie-Pier, thanks for your comment! I agree there are not enough articles about science, let us consider how to change it though.
      Cheers, J 🙂

  • Danielle

    September 2, 2015

    Hey Jordan – awesome post. We should chat over beers when you are a bit less bogged down in thesis-land 🙂 I have long believed that outreach is an essential part of doing science, and something I engaged in whenever I could – before I moved to QC. I have not done ANY since I moved here, largely due to the language gap. Working with salmon, I often feel like I am on the front line when in comes to climate change impacts, and I would love to help with future endeavors in outreach and education.

    • Jordan

      September 3, 2015

      Hi Danielle! Thank you! Yeah we should definitely do that. At Laval, there doesn’t seem to be a hell of a lot of it in any language, although about a year ago, I went into Stanislas College with others from Takuvik and did experiments (in French) with the kids. It was a challenge at first but there were several classes and we got more confident as the day proceeded. In the end I think it worked great!
      Let me know when you are free and we can chat some more!
      Cheers J 🙂

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