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Empowering SETAC North America's Voices for Science

Monday, March 20, 2017  
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Raising environmental science’s profile and value in decision-making was a focus of the SETAC North America Board of Directors March meeting. As members look to their professional society for more ways to engage, we’re building on the SETAC Voices for Science article by Global Executive Director Charlie Menzie to support and expand opportunities for the SETAC community.

Try new ways to listen, learn and engage for science and society – Menzie’s article notes the value of hearing other perspectives. We agree and tasked the 2017 Program Committee to evaluate hosting a town hall-type event at the SETAC North America 37th Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We also support the March for Science given the march’s mission to “unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest,” which resonates well with SETAC North America’s mission. Some regional chapters, such as the North Atlantic Regional Chapter, intend to facilitate their members’ participation in the march, and we commend their initiative. Another exciting outreach event from our regional chapters include the Laurentian Chapter’s Science Pub Nights of fellowship and learning, and we encourage other chapters to create and support similar outreach opportunities.

Leverage public outreach resources of our science partners to amplify your voice – We're not in science outreach alone; many of our partners have resources ready to use. SETAC was founded in 1979 with the assistance of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). Their headquarters housed SETAC’s first office, and we remain an active member (see our co-signature of AIBS letter in support of science for example). The AIBS Public Policy webpage has outreach resources – from primers on communicating science to events aimed at sharing perspectives with decision-makers. Through SETAC North America’s Public Outreach Committee, we’ll build an outreach toolbox on our website to compile information and facilitate access to a wealth of partners’ resources.  

Take advantage of what SETAC sustains to share your voice – SETAC publishes two journals and three electronic newsletters for your contributions. Explore the diversity of formats to voice science and policy perspectives, such as Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Focus Articles (which are to sharpen our understanding of current and emerging topics of interest to the scientific community at large), and Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management Letters to the Editor, Learned Discourses and the IEAM blog. The SETAC Globe and the SETAC News reach more than 10,000 members and subscribers. These are platforms for sharing your voice as an individual or with colleagues.

The SETAC North America Board and staff work daily to highlight the importance of environmental science and engineering in society – part of a foundation of strengths we can build upon.  Please share your voices for science, and visit the Public Outreach web page over the coming months for ideas and resources. Together, we can foster SETAC North America’s mission to “Advance and communicate reliable environmental science and associated applications to effectively inform decisions and actions to protect, manage and enhance environmental quality and ecosystem integrity in North America.”