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Science for Informed Decision Making

Posted By Mary C. Reiley, Sunday, November 30, 2014

Science for Informed Decision Making

That's part of how we fulfill SETAC’s mission. Our Society does not "lobby" lawmakers or decision makers for or against a particular bill, regulation, or policy. We've worked very hard since 1979 to stay focused on publishing and presenting the state of the science needed to solve environmental problems and anticipate the environmental problems of the future.  The very foundation of SETAC, tripartite participation in the scientific debate, makes our participation in the policy debate untenable.  Instead, SETAC is “...where scientists, managers and other professionals from academia, business, and government exchange information and ideas on the study, analysis and solution of environmental problems, the management and regulation of natural resources, research and development, and environmental education.” (From our very own website)

Over the last year your Board of Directors has been taking our mission to heart and crafting a vision to propel us toward it.  The vision for SETAC-NA has three components but I’d like to focus on just one for this post (we’ll get to the others over the next couple of months).  The one that states, “SETAC-NA will be widely recognized as the North American Society for integrated multi-sector expertise and inter/multi-disciplinary science to identify, inform, educate, and help solve complex regional and global environmental challenges.” (The new long-range plan hasn’t been posted, yet, as we are still working out a few parts.  But watch for it in the next few months.)

We've already started venturing onto new paths to promote SETAC-NA as the place for environmental problem solving science.  For example, the Public Outreach Committee was reconstituted.  Their first task? Conducting a one day workshop on ecological risk assessment for US Congressional Staff as they prepare for re-writing the Toxics Substance Control Act (TSCA).  It was a huge success and they want more of our expertise!  Another example is new ideas for Focus Topic Meetings coming from the Science Committee and joint symposia with complimentary scientific societies being organized for Salt Lake.  And then there is the Horizon Scanning Project that has all of us thinking about the future.  There are plenty of other examples and ideas and we want to know yours.  

Do you have ideas that would show off our expertise?  That would advance our mission and our vision to be the go-to environmental scientific society in North America?

Post your ideas - I’d love to hear about them.


PS.  Check out this post-relevant OpEd in Science (November 14, 2014, vol 346), “Out of sight, out of mind.”  


For those that subscribe to Science you can find it at:


It’s bottom line:


“It is imperative that scientists develop relationships with new members of Congress and their staff.  There will be another Ebola, earthquake, flood, or oil spill, and a host of other science-related challenges.  Newly elected members will soon be asked to vote on these kinds of issues.  They will need information quickly to make knowledge-based decisions.”

Tags:  Decision Making  SETAC-NA President 

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