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About Us

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 is an environmental analyst for the University of California at Davis.

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.

Brian Ettling -- Senior Contributing Author