MERGING MYTHOS AND LOGOS: TELLING BETTER GEOSCIENCE STORIES FOR PUBLIC AUDIENCES
We urgently need voters who have some grasp of the dynamics of natural phenomena like climate, groundwater, ecosystems, and earthquakes. Good science writing can help, and geoscientists have a natural advantage in communicating science to the public. We have fascinating narratives in which to frame our work; the natural world is bursting with back-stories. Most people really do seek a rational understanding of the world but may renounce scientific ideas out of fear, mistrust, incomprehension or sheer disinterest. Geoscientists may be able to win over even skeptical or indifferent audiences by being more sensitive to the cultural reasons the public may reject or ignore scientific explanations. In our discourse with non-scientists, we should strive to merge logos, the rational, evidence-based foundation of science, with a touch of mythos – the narratives that feed the deep human need for meaning and a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves. Changing the stories we tell about our relationship with Nature can set in motion the cultural changes that must occur if we are to create a robust, sustainable society.