Earlier this year, Andrew issued his Summer Science Outreach Challenge: Write an Op-Ed. Inspired, I thought I would straight up steal Andrew’s idea and give a few tips on writing an effective advocacy letter, the type of letter you’d send to a government official to ask them to help protect the ocean.
In my conservation career I’ve written hundreds of letters to all levels of government, from agency staff to presidents. Advocacy letters are one of the more effective tools in the arsenal of conservation tactics. They are a great way of communicating a message directly to a targeted person (assuming the letter gets read, of course!) and are a great way to kick off a discussion on protecting the ocean between concerned citizens and government officials. Here are a few tips: Read More
Being a scientist can be very frustrating, even infuriating. It might well be because of the inequalities and unfairness of academic life (such as incompetent administrators, a lack of funding, poor career prospects, or academic bullying and harassment ). However, if you work in the conservation field, the frustrations will positively abound. In addition to the depressingly high likelihood that you will see your study habitat or species disappear before your eyes, there are potentially the vexing roadblocks of your science being ignored – or being actively distorted – by policy makers, other scientists actively working against your efforts – either through their naivety or by deliberate design – or being attacked by crazy whacktivists because they think your approach is the wrong one .
Stress is often high among scientists, especially those involved in conservation. However, I have found one of easiest solutions to relieve the stress is to write about your problems. Putting all the anger and frustrations down on paper (or on screen) can be sublimely cathartic. You can feel your blood pressure literally dropping points with every word you write.