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Honduras charts course for climate commitments

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The message struck a chord. The article has since become one of the Small Leather Goods Wallets Bottega Veneta bzOlsUPqk
scientific publications globally. It has been translated into 19 languages , inspired more than 8,000 tweets reaching up to 14 million people, and prompted discussions in the parliaments of two countries, according to its authors. The article has now been endorsed or co-signed by some 20,000 scientists.

Christopher Martius, principal scientist at CIFOR , was one of the signatories of the original article. He shared his views on the reactions the article has generated and the role of scientists with Landscapes News in the following interview.

Q: Why do you think the article created so much attention—why now?

A : These are times of fake news, and skepticism. I think many people were thirsty for a clear message from scientists, based on straightforward empirical data. But, in addition to all the positive attention, I found out that the article also generated downright hateful reactions on certain websites. There are people out there who simply reject science. That is sobering.

Q: What can you do, when some people don’t believe scientists?

A : I recently read that people tend to believe whatever is presented with conviction. Whenever something is presented with a degree of uncertainty—like climate change predictions—people have a tendency to dismiss it. The uncertainty seems to indicate that scientists don’t know what they are talking about—nothing could be further from the truth.

Q: Do scientists need to become more convincing?

A : That may be part of it. But there will probably always be a group of skeptic people, and sound skepticism is good. The world needs critical thinking. Criticism moves science forward. But you cannot convince a so-called skeptic who just operates from a basis of hate or vested interests. My experience is that as scientists, we can make the biggest difference by working directly with groups who have use for the science, such as NGOs (non-govermental organizations) and governments. At CIFOR we have started to reflect a lot on our impact pathways: How to ensure that our science is being used.

Q: What are those impact pathways?

A: We engage early on with the recipients of science, so we know what type of knowledge they need, and in which form they want to have it. Before, we would just hit them on the head with a lengthy scientific paper. But who will read that? We have come a long way out of our bubble.

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