The United States Arctic Research Commission (USARC) is charged with forming policies and reviewing Arctic research, including research on oil spills. In 2012, the USARC produced a report, "Oil Spills in Arctic Waters," that inventoried current research on the prevention of and response to oil spills in the Arctic. Among the report’s many recommendations is communication to the general public about what research has been completed. They mention that many people might be aware and interested in the Arctic because of current news on climate change, Arctic oil exploration, and recent oil spills like Deepwater Horizon, but unaware of current research since information about oil is often presented from a biased perspective. Thus, it is their motivation to present an unbiased account of what research has actually been implemented. “The breadth and value of this body of knowledge [their inventory of over 203 Arctic-related research projects] may be underappreciated by the general public, and if so, greater efforts need to be made to communicate the value of this information to the layperson and to media representatives.” A public who is cognizant of current research and knowledge will be more apt to make informed decisions on Arctic oil.
Interpreters and Informal Science Educators play a key role in meeting the needs expressed by the USARC. When communicating with the public on oil in the changing Arctic, interpreters can synthesize the vast amount of data on the Arctic and oil spill preparedness. Additionally, interpreters can help create a connection between their audience and the Arctic. We can help create a public with a vested interest in the Arctic; a public that is concerned with how their decisions about oil consumption affect the Arctic.
For the USARC report: http://www.arctic.gov/publications/white%20papers/oil_spills_2012_hi.pdf
PHOTO CREDIT: USARC, "Oil Spills in Arctic Waters," 2012 Report Cover.
Interpreters and Informal Science Educators play a key role in communicating the value of oil spill research, as recommended by the US Arctic Research Commission.