Communicating Environmental Science to Political Decision Makers: Summer 2005 Workshop Final Briefings Held August 17, 2005
The Graduate Students Gain Practical Skills in
Environmental Policy and Management
The workshops’ goals are to enhance students’ analytical skills in environmental policy and their ability to effectively communicate the scientific aspects of environmental management issues to political decision makers who do not have a science background. This summer, workshop groups reviewed and made recommendations on the implementation of the following laws: the U.S. Safe Water Currency for Peace Act; the Mercury Emission Act; the Marine Debris Research Prevention and Reduction Act; the Solid Waster Interstate Transportation Act; and a look at key aspects of the Kyoto Protocol.
Graduate student Lauren Bome worked with 11 peers on analyzing the U.S. Safe Water for Currency for Peace Act of 2005, with the guidance of Steven Cohen, Director of the MPA Program in Environmental Science and Policy and Director of the Earth Institute’s Educational Programs. The group’s work culminated in a presentation of their findings, along with other workshop participants, in mid-August. Bome credits the program for building her knowledge of critical issues in international policy and says that the workshop gave her practical skills vital to academic and professional pursuits in environmental management.
“I learned how complex and sometimes difficult it can be to break down a problem in order to really understand it,” says Bome. “At the same time, I learned how important and beneficial it is for a policy maker to understand the science behind a problem before implementing or even proposing solutions to solve it.”
Workshop participants will continue their analysis of their individual legislation in the fall when they will develop an organizational and contracting plan, a budget, and performance management system as well as a master calendar to guide implementation of the new law. In addition to these practical skills, the students also learn how to work efficiently as a group, honing their abilities to work collaboratively as a team. Without these skills, says Bome, the success of their assignment would not have been possible.
“I cannot stress enough how important teamwork has
been in this project,” says Bome. “It would have been impossible to
complete such a detailed and analytical assessment of this Act
without each of our 12 group members. The fantastic teamwork shown
by our group from our first meeting to the final briefing was the
key to our success.”