Simon Moore is an environmental activist and science communicator. He currently works as the Communications and Engagement Officer for Net-Zero at the Priestley International Centre for Climate. He agreed to do a short interview on science communication, dealing with climate emotions and his advice for university students who are terrified about climate change.
What is the biggest challenge and the most rewarding aspect of working in the field of science communication?
One of the biggest challenges working in science communication is the increasing rejection of science by politicians, notably Trump and even Johnson to some extent. It’s very difficult to try and counter this through your own day-to-day work. On a personal level, one of the biggest challenges of working in science communication at a University is it can be tricky to set the agenda, and control the subjects that you get to work on. Often you have to react to what is being published, in short timescales, and you don’t always get much say in guiding the strategy of what is being communicated about.
The most rewarding aspect of working in the field of science communication is seeing your work picked up by the media, seeing it get shared widely through social media, and hearing that people are enjoying reading, watching and listening to your work. Science communication is about inspiring, entertaining and informing people, so they are best equipped to face the world around them. And knowing people have enjoyed your work makes it all worthwhile.
Climate change can make people feel discouraged, angry and scared. Have you struggled with any of these emotions? What, if anything, gives you hope about the future?
Yes, I often feel angry and I think I’ll be living in constant fear of the climate crisis for as long as it takes to get it under control. Who knows, it might be our whole lifetimes. I sometimes feel slightly discouraged when thinking about how long we have known about climate change and failed to act, and the huge powerful lobby groups that are fighting to maintain the destructive status quo. But I generally feel positive and hopeful because of the wonderful people that are working together to fight climate change, and the people blocking our efforts to curtail it.
The sheer volume of people who care about the climate crisis is staggering, and particularly those who care enough to take to the streets to rebel against the system that is enabling it. And people are incredibly powerful, as we have seen with Greta, but also with endless campaigns around the world, a small group of people can cause enormous change in quiet a short period of time. The challenge is to keep this up and keep things moving in the right direction, tipping us towards a safe and just future that protects us all.
What advice would you give to a university student who feels powerless in the face of climate change?
Do something about the climate crisis. Make changes to your own lifestyle, and you’ll see how others in your social groups follow suit. Join activist groups like Extinction Rebellion, youth climate strikers, and student societies that care about the issues that you do. Get creative, experiment and find out what you like to do – writing, podcasting, vlogging, tweeting, TikToking. Do what you enjoy, listen to feedback, and work with like-minded people to make a difference. You’ll soon see that people are powerful, especially when we work together.