Tom Smerling & Don McCubbin -- Creators of ClimateBites

ClimateBites was created by Tom Smerling & Don McCubbin.   Tom is a climate communicator who formerly worked in the Special Projects Office of NOAA’s National Ocean Service.   Don has worked for many years analyzing environmental issues and most recently managing projects designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Tom's Idea for ClimateBites

When I left NOAA in 2008, and started speaking about climate change to community groups, I was shocked to discover how difficult it was to find slides, scripts, and plain language to help me “tell the climate story” effectively to general audiences.    

I found reams of scientific articles packed with data, scientific slides of charts and graphs, and excellent curricula for K-12 and college.  But most of it was “not quite right” for adult audiences.  Moreover, most material was widely scattered, difficult to find, and often proprietary.

Particularly hard to find were the turgid metaphors, anecdotes and soundbites, which are so crucial to gaining an audience's attention, getting your ideas across and making them "stick" (ala the Heath brothers' guide to sticky messaging, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

After much digging, I eventually gleaned some good material, created some myself, and began saving it all for future use.

But with so much at stake, why should this be so difficult?  I decided to try to spare other climate communicators the hours of frustration I had experienced.  Inspired by John Cook's highly-practical SkepticalScience, Don McCubbin and I partnered to build ClimateBites.

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Brian Ettling -- Senior Contributing Author

For the past 22 years, Brian Ettling has worked as a seasonal park ranger at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon and Everglades National Park, Florida. While working in these national parks, he personally witnessed the impact of climate change. At Crater Lake, he saw a declining snowpack and in the Everglades, the impact of sea level rise.

In 2008, he left his winter job in the Everglades to educate and inspire folks in his hometown, St. Louis, Missouri to take action to reduce the threat of climate change. Since then, he has given nearly 30 climate change presentations as a Toastmaster, Climate Reality Leader, teacher at St. Louis area community colleges, and a Sierra Club volunteer. In 2011, he co-founded the Climate Reality St. Louis Meet Up group, which has almost 200 members now and meets monthly.

Brian is also a national climate change speaker. November, 2012, NASA invited him to present a talk at The National Association of Interpreters Convention in Hampton, Virginia. May 2013, Grand Canyon National Park recruited him to speak to almost 200 park visitors and staff on climate change. May 2014, Oregon Wild had him speak at their annual conference in Portland, OR.

In addition to writing for Climatebites since 2011, Brian created his own website, Climate Change Comedian and a blog, Be Green Now. In April, 2012, the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media published an article by Brian, Communicating Climate Change in a National Park.