The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has tarnished the public image of gasoline, according to a poll by the Shelton Group. Their press release says more than one in five Americans plan to reduce their driving as a result of the spill.
This is a bitterly practical illustration of the effectiveness of storytelling in science communication. Showing the experiences of individuals can be much more powerful than reporting statistics.
How many of us have been to Louisiana?
When I read the headlines about the shrimp boats coming into port, I thought of Southern cooking. One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago was Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop. I remembered their seafood gumbo.
Later, I saw a story about a symbolic graveyard which people created to show the many things they had lost because of the oil spill.
It’s important for scientists, journalists and educators to go on telling the stories of science and technology – both positive and negative.
Research shows that our goal should go beyond sharing facts. If we want to awaken curiosity and see action, we’re going to have to talk about people, too.
On that note – if you’re interested in seeing persuasive images, click the image below, navigate to Louisiana and type in “oil spill.”