Kalamazoo Section of the American Chemical Society

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Kalamazoo chemists win grant to explain climate change to the public

Press release: For Immediate Release

Released: 2013-04-25

WASHINGTON - Members of the Kalamazoo Local Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) are winners of a $3,000 grant to help public audiences better understand the science behind climate change. The announcement was made at the Society’s recent national meeting in New Orleans.

According to Elke Schoffers, Ph.D., chair of the Kalamazoo ACS Local Section, the local section will collaborate with the Western Michigan University Climate Change Study Group to reach out to diverse audiences. They will use concepts from the ACS Climate Science Toolkit as part of the training of community leaders — education directors in faith-based congregations, middle and high school teachers, and scout leaders and merit badge counselors — to lead discussions of climate change in settings where they can be better allied with positive personal, group and public identities.

The ACS Climate Science Toolkit is a web-based resource that explains the chemistry and physics of climate change. Launched last December, it was one of the major initiatives of 2012 ACS President Bassam Z. Shakhashiri. Kalamazoo is one of 12 of the Society’s local sections that will receive the first ACS Presidential Climate Science Challenge Grants.

Shakhashiri explained that the mechanisms of climate change are based on fundamental concepts that may not be familiar to scientists working in disciplines unrelated to climate change. They need a robust understanding themselves in order to help others who are not scientists understand the issues relevant to maintaining a livable climate.

“These inaugural grants will encourage ACS members to take up the mantle as scientist-citizens and reach out with climate science information to their colleagues and others,” said Shakhashiri. “These include teachers, college and university faculty, industrial scientists and business leaders, civic and religious groups, professional science and educational organizations, and elected public officials at all levels and in all branches of government.”

The grants, $3,000 each, were awarded to the following ACS local sections: Central New Mexico; Dallas-Fort Worth; Illinois Heartland; Iowa; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Maine; New York; Northern W.V.; Portland, Ore.; Puerto Rico; Puget Sound; and Wakarusa Valley in Kansas.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistryrelated research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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