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Sunshine Blogger Award

Posted on 21 August 2018 by BaerbelW, dana1981, David Kirtley, Evan

Checking our Twitter stream on July 26, we were pleasantly surprised to notice that Jonathan Dean Coey had nominated Skeptical Science for the Sunshine Blogger Award.


What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The award is driven entirely by the community, passed from blogger to blogger in recognition of their inspiring, creative and motivational blogs. Each nominee passes it on to 11 of their favourite bloggers, and round and round it goes. This is a great way to give recognition to bloggers who may otherwise fly under the radar of many people.

For accepting the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and ask them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post and/or on your blog.

So a big thank-you to Jonathan Dean Coey for nominating us for this award! As Skeptical Science is a global team effort, several of us have contributed answers to the questions we received from him. It’s therefore perhaps a bit different compared to other posts in this series where one blog often equals one author!

Jonathan's Questions and Our Answers

1. What will your blog be like in 5 years?

[Baerbel] Hopefully, Skeptical Science (SkS) will no longer need to fight misinformation regarding climate science in 5 years’ time and can actually report on successfully implemented mitigation policies in order to keep global warming to a manageable level (one can dream, right?!?) .

[Dana] We expect that in five years, climate science denial will no longer exist, and Skeptical Science (SkS) will be a nonstop party, celebrating humanity’s evolution to a wiser, more enlightened state that includes finding solutions to the existential threats we face. Of course, that’s also what we thought five years ago!

[David K] I have high confidence that SKS’s list of rebuttals will still be needed five years from now. There are many science deniers who have an amazing ability to avoid reality. And in today’s world of “fake news” their efforts to delay action on climate change will only continue to grow over the next five years.

2. What is it that you enjoy the most about blogging?

[Team] None of us is willing to sit idly by as dangerous climate change continues to accelerate. SkS provides a pathway for all of the website’s international volunteers – from scientists to writers to moderators, programmers, and translators – to utilize their talents to help move the needle away from climate science denial towards an acceptance of reality. We also enjoy the ability to communicate with people who want to listen and learn.

3. What is the purpose of your blog?

[Team] In 2007, John Cook created SkS as a database of science-based debunkings for popular climate myths. People convinced him a while later to add a blog and for a couple of years he was the only author. This changed during 2010 when the author community formed almost overnight. The main purpose of SkS is to fight misinformation about climate science and the blog section is an important part of that. We try to teach climate science in everyday language and to relate abstract processes such as the greenhouse effect to everyday experiences such as explaining why you are feeling warmer when there are clouds overhead.

In case anybody is interested in our website’s history, you can read the blog series we published a year ago when SkS turned 10.


4. Do you listen to music when writing your blog?

[Baerbel] Not in the sense of “actively listening to music”, but I may have the radio on or even the TV while working on some of my blog posts.

[Dana] No, I focus more easily in a quiet environment.

[Evan] I write in a noisy rollerskating rink. The music and noise of kids rollerskating keeps me going. But now I am writing in a quiet coffee shop.

5. Do your family & friends know about your blog?

[Dana] Yes, many are proud of our efforts.

[Baerbel] I make sure that they do!

[Evan] Little interest, especially because they are mostly on the side of denial. My wife is supportive, but I don’t talk with her much about it so that I don’t overload her.

[David K] Not really sure...of course, my wife knows and is very supportive. I mention my blog posts on my facebook feed so most of my friends and some of my family know about it. Talking to other humans isn’t really my thing...which is why I write.

6. Do you do any writing other than your blog?

[Team] Some SkS contributors also write for other outlets:

Dana Nuccitelli - Guardian - Climate Consensus - the 97% and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

John Cook - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and The Conversation

John Mashey - DeSmog and HuffingtonPost

7. What was your reaction to being nominated for the sunshine blogger award?

[Baerbel] Pleasant surprise, mixed with the knowledge that accepting the award would come with some additional work - even if fun - for our team to create the required blog post and to come up with questions to ask and decide who to nominate

[Dana] It was an honor to be nominated.

8. How long does it take you to write an average blog post?

[Baerbel] Net time is perhaps a couple of hours but it can take a a few of weeks from initial idea to actually publishing it. Case in point is this blog post where about a month has gone by between getting nominated and actually publishing it.

[Dana] The writing itself takes a few hours, but the research is constantly ongoing.

[Evan] Months. Starts with a concept, then a rough draft, then weeks to months of letting it slowly brew. I collaborate with another blogger, and I would be lost without that interaction. A co-author is important to get things right the first time, because a bad blog post won’t be corrected until after everybody has read it and gone on to something else.

[David K] Way too long. I like to do the research. And then I do more research. I have a hard time knowing when to stop.

9. Why did you start your blog?

[Team] Prior to the creation of SkS, there was no accessible resource explaining what the peer-reviewed scientific research says about the many popular climate myths. SkS filled that void. We also want to make a difference to someone out there. If we can help one person prepare for our rapidly changing future we are happy. If we can make a difference to help slow down global warming, we’ll be ecstatic.

[Baerbel] I joined the Skeptical Science team in 2010 as a means to turn my growing concerns regarding climate change into something productive.Doing nothing and throwing my hands up in dispair wasn’t an option.

[Evan] If I just sit and watch what’s happening I feel despair. Action is therapy and it will hopefully help others.

[David K] My blogging at SkS grew out of my main “job” at the site of answering some of the emails we receive. Occasionally we get questions about some aspect of climate science which hasn’t been covered on the site before, or perhaps, could use a fresh explanation. I’m constantly fascinated by the science which informs our understanding of climate change and want to make it as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.

10. If you could develop a cure for any virus, which one would it be?

[Team] Inoculation against the “climate science misinformation virus” (not to mention all the fake news out there). With our MOOC “Denial101x - Making sense of climate science denial” we have been delivering flu shots since 2015 and some of us are working on even stronger vaccinations!


11. What do you spend most of your spare time doing? (other than blogging)

[Dana] I play tennis and volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL).

[Evan] Rollerskating and wildlife photography.

[Baerbel] I also help with CCL (in Germany and Europe) and I’m active in our local nature conservation group and as a volunteer docent at the zoo in Stuttgart. But most of my spare time is spent on climate-related "stuff".

Our 11 Nominees

  1. Climatesight - Kaitlin Naughten - @kaitlinnaughten
  2. Karin Kirk on Yale Climate Connections - Karin Kirk @karinkirk_mt
  3. Climate crocks - Peter Sinclair - @PeterWSinclair
  4. Shaping Tomorrow’s World - Stephan Lewandowsky - @STWorg
  5. … And then there’s physics - ATTP - @theresphysics
  6. Hotwhopper - Sou - @Sou_HotWhopper
  7. Variable-Variability - Victor Venema - @VariabilityBlog
  8. Rabett Run - Eli Rabett - @EthonRaptor
  9. Climate Science Legal Defense Fund - CLSDF - @ClimSciDefense
  10. The Logic of Science - Fallacy Man - @LogicofScience
  11. Bad Astronomy - Phil Plait - @BadAstronomer

Our 11 Questions

  1. When did you start blogging?
  2. What is your blog mostly focused on?
  3. What kind of reactions do you get for your blog posts?
  4. How do you use social media?
  5. What is the funniest comment you received on your blog?
  6. How do you decide what to write about?
  7. At what intervals do you try to publish your blog posts?
  8. Do you ever get “writers block” and how do you then overcome it?
  9. What - if any - rules do you have for posting comments on your blog?
  10. Who would you most like to interview for a blog post and why?
  11. Who do you want to reach with your blog?

 Over to you!

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Comments 1 to 4:

  1. Well done and fully deserved.

    Heres a little thing that has worked for me. I like rock music, but when working I have got into the habit of listening to  classical instrumental music like Bachs or Mozarts piano music. I'ts light sounding,  and not distracting.

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  2.  I think Tamino's Open Mind blog is worthy of a nomination

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  3. Prior to the creation of SkS, there was no accessible resource explaining what the peer-reviewed scientific research says about the many popular climate myths.

    Well, prior to SkS there was Coby's Beck's blog, A FewThings I'll-Considered, which had a pretty big debunking list and quite a bit of reference to peer-reviewed lit for a layman. IIRC I found my way to SkS through Coby (or Realclimate, who referenced his old and new blog, too).

    Coby moved his debunk articles to here in 2008.

    Congrats on the nomination. And I'd second a nomination for Tamino.

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  4. There is no possible way that climate change denial will be gone by 2023. Humanity's refusal to accept inconvenient truths is very strong. Or as David K said, the ability to avoid reality is amazing. Just think about the fact that we're still debating evolution.

    I estimate that it will take until the mid 2030s before climate change denial is no longer significant.

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