Tools and Messages for Talking about Chemistry
This section includes informative examples of chemistry's benefits to society, toolkits and talking points to help you communicate about current topics, and messages that make important, lasting points about chemistry.
Make it Relevant Using Tools and Messages
People want to know what is going on in their communities. You can help people in your community to appreciate chemistry's role in major public discussions such as climate change, sustainability, and federal research by demonstrating and explaining the many roles that chemistry and chemists have in improving people’s lives:
- Chemists make important contributions to sustainability – chemists develop new types of materials to prevent depletion of precious natural resources, and chemists are working to clean streams and the air.
- Finding ways to make alternative clean energy a reality has the potential to grow new industries in solar, wind or biofuel in your area.
- Emerging research is conducted in universities and research institutions across your area. Federal funding underpins many areas of research that contribute new products, medicines and knowledge and supports jobs across the U.S.
The list of ways that chemists help society is practically unlimited.
ACS offers toolkits designed to help members talk about important challenges locally, nationally and globally, each of which involves chemistry as a critical component. These toolkits offer resources, talking points, facts and expertise to help you communicate more effectively about chemistry’s vital role in solving global challenges.
ACS Climate Science Toolkit: Global climate change, whether a result of natural variability or of human activity, is a vital issue for life on Earth and involves many processes and concepts related to chemistry. Engaging with this issue in deliberative discourse with colleagues and others requires understanding the fundamental science that determines Earth’s climate. This fundamental science is the core content of the ACS Climate Science Toolkit.
Sustainable Water Toolkit: Resources for understanding the challenges in providing a sustainable supply of clean water and the solutions. Billions of people around the world are facing shortages of clean water. At least 80 countries already have water shortages that threaten human health and economic activity. Almost one billion people lack reliable access to clean drinking water. And the situation may worsen with population growth and global climate change.
Sustainable Energy Toolkit: A “perfect-storm” of problems ― ranging from skyrocketing fuel prices to concerns about global climate change to dependence on imported oil ― are merging to focus attention on development of new and sustainable sources of energy. This primer focuses on some of the basics of that new energy supply, which aims to serve the needs of people today while ensuring that future generations have ample energy available to meet their needs.
Sustainable Food Toolkit: Resources for understanding issues facing the world's food supply. As the world’s population grows, what can be done to sustain the farmland, energy and water supplies needed to keep everyone fed? How can we address the fact that as much as 50 percent of food produced by farms goes to waste? Can we prevent food-borne illnesses that continue to threaten the global food supply? These are just some of the challenging questions facing a world whose population is expected to swell beyond 10 billion people later this century.
Federal Science Funding Toolkit: In March 2013, the U.S. took a cut of nearly 1 trillion dollars over 10 years to federal financing. This cut, called sequestration, has dramatically reduced federal support for basic scientific research and development. This toolkit describes the impacts of federal funding on R&D and economic development.
Talking Points and Messages
Talking points and messages are short concise statements or thoughts that can be easily incorporated into publicity products and other materials. Think of them as ‘sound bytes’ for the TV news, or the ‘hook’ to a newspaper article. To have the best chance at enhancing the image of chemists and chemistry, it is imperative that all of us speak with a common voice and purpose. The following are some examples of ACS messages:
- Chemistry is everywhere and contributes to everyone’s daily life; it has and continues to transform our lives.
- Chemistry and chemists drive innovations to discover solutions to problems and enhance our lives (e.g. green chemistry)
- Chemistry is important to our nation’s economic health.
- It is vital that the next generation understands that chemistry is everywhere; is a transforming force that improves lives and our society; and is an important profession, because careers in chemistry offer opportunities to change the world.
For more examples and tips on how to develop strong talking points and messages, visit the PR Guidebook.
Do you have advice on using facts, talking points and messages to help to help others understand chemistry better? Have you created messages that are relevant for your community?