Welcome to the first of our podcast series on human-centered science communication. Joining us today to broadly cover the topic of commitment, is Cornell University Design and Environmental Analysis student, Brandon Hoak. In this episode, we discuss the role of commitment in conversation and the conversations required for the ecological restoration that Brandon is so committed to. Brandon provides some practical examples of ecological restoration and the benefits thereof, outlining the factors that drive people’s complacency towards a shift to natural landscapes. We discuss the historical tendency for humans to re-engineer the earth for our purposes, and the deep reflection and communication required to shift this mindset around progress. Brandon starkly states the crux of the matter with regards to climate change, and the two options we, as humanity have: destruction or restoration. We look at the ways in which to communicate the ecocentric perspective that people, planet, and profit can indeed exist synergistically. Tune in for this thought-provoking conversation on communication and commitment. 

Key Points From This Episode:

  • What makes conversation such an important communication tool.
  • Guest, Brandon Hoak, shares his area of focus in his studies at Cornell University.
  • Brandon’s goal post-graduation.
  • An example of ecological restoration for humans and non-humans.
  • The role of commitment in conversation.
  • Why people are resistant to reestablishing the native habitat on their properties.
  • How people’s attitudes are changing towards a shift to natural landscapes.
  • The mindset shift Rob has observed in Santa Monica.
  • LA’s ecosystem explained.
  • The question of undoing humans’ re-engineering of the earth to suit our own purposes.
  • The deep reflection and communication required to shift humanity’s mindset around progress.
  • The possibility for people, planet, and profit to exist together.
  • The role of nature in design and communication principles
  • How the endless notion of progress through technology is in direct opposition to nature.
  • How best to have conversations with those who don’t understand the ecocentric perspective.
  • The fork in the road we have reached as a species, in terms of climate change.
  • How Brandon’s identity within the LGBTQ community has impacted his awareness and ability to engage in the scientific conversation of ecological restoration.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Designing Science Conversation

Brandon Hoak on LinkedIn


Dust & Company

Making Conversation: Seven Essential Elements of Meaningful Communication

Fred Dust on Twitter

Nic DiPalma on Twitter

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