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Top 10 Science Questions To Ask Your Candidate

Top 10 Science Questions To Ask Your Candidate

There are dozens of national polls that attempt to ascertain what issues are most important to the American public. Presumably, these are the issues that our presidential candidates should try to address in their campaign platforms and debates.

Just asking the average American what topic is at the forefront of their mind on any given day doesn’t necessarily tap into the most pressing issues facing our society and world.

Candidates often use highly emotional topics to polarize voters and engender support for their own platforms. It could be argued, however, that rather than focusing on the issues that divide us, we should prioritize those that affect us all equally regardless of religion or political persuasion.

Issues like climate change, agriculture, conservation of natural resources, and energy are vital to national policy making. Instead of obsessing about same-sex marriage or who deserves access to birth control, maybe we should be worried about what’s gonna happen when the drought lasts all year, or the Keystone XL pipeline spills into the Ogallala Aquifer, threatening 83 percent of Nebraska’s irrigation water.

To help get the public thinking more about issues that really matter, ScienceDebate.org invited thousands of scientists, engineers and concerned citizens to submit the most important science questions facing the nation.

Here are some of the questions that came out of the survey. Do you think they represent issues the candidates for president should be debating on the campaign trail? And if so, would your candidate answer them the same way you do?

1. Innovation and the Economy.  Science and technology have been responsible for over half of the growth of the U.S. economy since WWII, when the federal government first prioritized peacetime science mobilization. But several recent reports question America’s continued leadership in these vital areas. What policies will best ensure that America remains a world leader in innovation?

2. Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other policies proposed to address global climate change—and what steps can we take to improve our ability to tackle challenges like climate change that cross national boundaries?

3. Education. Increasingly, the global economy is driven by science, technology, engineering and math, but a recent comparison of 15-year-olds in 65 countries found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 23rd, while average U.S. math scores ranked 31st.  In your view, why have American students fallen behind over the last three decades, and what role should the federal government play to better prepare students of all ages for the science and technology-driven global economy?

4. Energy. Many policymakers and scientists say energy security and sustainability are major problems facing the United States this century. What policies would you support to meet the demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?

5. Food. Thanks to science and technology, the United States has the world’s most productive and diverse agricultural sector, yet many Americans are increasingly concerned about the health and safety of our food.  The use of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides, as well as animal diseases and even terrorism pose risks. What steps would you take to ensure the health, safety and productivity of America’s food supply?

6. Fresh Water. Less than one percent of the world’s water is liquid fresh water, and scientific studies suggest that a majority of U.S. and global fresh water is now at risk because of increasing consumption, evaporation and pollution. What steps, if any, should the federal government take to secure clean, abundant fresh water for all Americans?

7. Ocean Health. Scientists estimate that 75 percent of the world’s fisheries are in serious decline, habitats like coral reefs are threatened, and large areas of ocean and coastlines are polluted. What role should the federal government play domestically and through foreign policy to protect the environmental health and economic vitality of the oceans?

8. Science in Public Policy. We live in an era when science and technology affect every aspect of life and society, and so must be included in well-informed public policy decisions. How will you ensure that policy and regulatory decisions are fully informed by the best available scientific and technical information, and that the public is able to evaluate the basis of these policy decisions?

9. Space. The United States is currently in a major discussion over our national goals in space. What should America’s space exploration and utilization goals be in the 21st century and what steps should the government take to help achieve them?

10. Critical Natural Resources. Supply shortages of natural resources affect economic growth, quality of life, and national security; for example China currently produces 97% of rare earth elements needed for advanced electronics. What steps should the federal government take to ensure the quality and availability of critical natural resources?

Related Reading:

Polluting The Economy: The Effects Of Greenhouse Gases On The Job Market

Corporations Funding Climate Change Denial

Voters Want Candidates To Debate Science, Not Faith Or Values

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67 comments

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7:12AM PDT on Oct 4, 2012

All very valid questions and concerns! Well thought out!

5:01PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Correction for posting below;

Everyone, once again, Beth has outdone her last article, which, if I might say, is some of the best reporting on all of Care2, also Stars to Jessica.



I wish that I could say that the two of you have helped to save the planet and its peoples, alas, it is not meant of be, no matter how much love that you have shown.



So much love, so much careful thought, yet, so far to go, knowing full well that we struggle alone, it is just that. Alone, but do not listen to me, there may be hope, as a scientists/researcher, I am at the end of my journey to solve man's blatant, willful destruction of all that man has come to know, to "create.". 

just to throw it all away.

Once again, my thanks.

4:57PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Everyone, once agin, Beth has outdone her last article, which, if I might say, is some of the best reporting on all of Care2, also Stars to Jessica.

I with that I could say that the two of you have helped to save the planet and its peoples, alas, it is not meant of be, no matter how much love that you have shown.

So much love, so much careful thought, yet, so far to go, knowing full well that we struggle alone, it is just that. Alone, but do not listen to me, there may be hope, as a scientists/researcher, I am at the end of my journey to solve man's blatant, willful destruction of all that man has come to know, to "create.".

Once again, my thanks.

4:46PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Rob B, I must tell you, I fell out of my chair, stop doing that, oh, one more, please.

For Rob B, I submit this in your name, along with a greenie:

Repugnants...they love you until you are borne; yet, they are willing to guide us into 6th Century.

9:09AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Good questions. My prediction is that, if asked, most of the Republicans would give evasive answers, or ones that pander to the religious fundamentalists, or, in Romney's case, snide and dismissive answers. Obama would probably give intelligent answers for the most part, and as soon as he did, most people's eyes would glaze over and they'd lose interest.

7:17AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Good article with intelligent issues for government to address! - all are issues that concern me...but my first request to our government would be: disclosure of ALL E.T. and UFO files, so that we can finally know the truth about, and utilize all the new technologies they've acquired! - which would enable us to have clean, infinitely renewable and safe energies!

3:56PM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Interesting.

11:19AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Will you support monitoring and research projects that analyze public health, measure pollution, and give students good paying summer jobs doing science?

3:40AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Thanks, have a feeling that none of these will be discussed.

3:40AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Kelly R says: "Stand far away from a Rethugicon because their heads will explode into tiny pieces." I CANNOT GIVE YOU A WELL DESERVED STAR, YET! Throwing em your way like firecrackers.

Pam W says: Good questions....now....any advice on how to pin a Republican down and get answers? I CANNOT GIVE YOU A WELL DESERVED STAR, YET EITHER! Throwing em your way like firecrackers too!

Alan L says: "Bet that Twit Romney would give 20 answers to those 10 questions..."
Do you mean he would flip 20/10 to each person asking him one question? You are quite generous with your clever, show & sweet knowledge. Star on it's way:)

Steven B... this is why we know "Romney is the Problem~ Not the Solution" Of course they want No Government. Transparency would interfere with their plans. I hear Too Big To Fail ringing in my ears...




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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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