Is Pittsburgh ready to face the facts?

It’s no surprise that there is a great divide between how the world actually works and how policymakers think it works. Here’s Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University, who just completed a term as president of the International Council for Science, writing on “Science’s communication gap” in today’s International Herald Tribune:

The world desperately needs to know what scientists are learning from their research endeavors. We can’t stop hurricanes or tsunamis or other extremes of nature. But if we weave into the policy-making process the right mix of knowledge – integrating disciplines like environmental sciences, engineering, and health and social sciences – we can help save lives and reduce damage to property.

And, why not start in Pittsburgh? We may not have hurricanes or tsunamis, but we certainly have our problems. I have been thinking that Bob O’Connor, in addition to so actively soliciting people to serve on existing city commissions and boards, should create a “Commission on Evidence-Based Policies” with economists, education researchers, energy analysts, sustainability experts, et cetera, to act as advisors.

What do you think? More importantly, what would Bob think? Maybe if I corner him at this event, I can find out…

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