As part of its overall mission to improve the scientific basis for environmental decision-making, NCSE has a continuing strategic effort to work in the area of public policy with two overarching goals:
- To provide accurate, understandable, comprehensive and integrated science-based information on environmental issues, its meaning, and its limitations so that they understand the risks, uncertainties, and potential consequences of their actions or inactions.
- To educate key decision-makers about the programs and activities which they control or influence that contribute to improving the scientific basis for environmental decision-making, including publicly-supported environmental research and education activities.
Under the Science Policy Program, NCSE recognizes that there are several communities with needs and assets that underpin the challenge of improving the scientific basis for environmental decision-making:
- Congress needs information that is scientifically accurate; balanced and objective; non-technical language; presented in visualizations that aid understanding; recognizes all aspects of an issue; is placed in context that that allows the information to be honestly judged; is timely to their considerations, is relevant to their constituents, and can be trusted.
- Public agencies need assistance in building understanding and support for their environmental programs; ideas on how to improve their activities provided in a timely and constructive way; and, a ssistance is carrying out some aspects of some of their programs.
- Researchers and educators need assistance in communicating the value of their work to improving the scientific basis for environmental decision-making to key decision-makers.
Over the past five years, NCSE's Science Policy activities have focused on two objectives:
- Advancing federal programs and initiatives that improve the scientific basis for environmental decision-making
- Supporting a robust and well-funded portfolio of federal programs for environmental research and education
This has involved:
- Monitoring federal Environmental R&D funding, including and online handbook of Environmental R&D programs
- Providing testimony to Congress
- Advocacy for environmental R&D and education
- Involvement in building new coalitions (e.g., USGS Coalition which NCSE was instrumental in launching)
- Participation in appropriate meetings with agency representatives to discuss environmental programs
- Writing and disseminating articles via the web site, to the listserv, and periodic reports