Ecologists on a Mission to Save the World

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Science  18 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5456, pp. 1188-1192
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5456.1188

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There is a growing debate over how far environmental scientists should go in interpreting their findings for policy-makers. While some leading ecologists are urging their colleagues to inject their findings--and themselves--into policy debates, other warn that activism will erode the discipline's credibility, as environmental scientists and environmental activists become increasingly indistinguishable in the eyes of the public. To this, scientist-advocates counter that the key is to make it clear that when they are taking a stand, they are doing so not as a scientist but as a citizen, and that their views are based on values.