A New Dark Age? Truth, Trust, and Environmental Science

A New Dark Age? Truth, Trust, and Environmental Science

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  • July 25, 2022
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This review examines the alleged crisis of trust in environmental science and its impact on public opinion, policy decisions in the context of democratic governance, and the interaction between science and society. In an interdisciplinary manner, the review focuses on the following themes: the trustworthiness of environmental science, empirical studies of levels of trust and trust formation; social media, environmental science, and disinformation; trust in environmental governance and democracy; and co-production of knowledge and the production of trust in knowledge. The review explores both the normative issue of trustworthiness and empirical studies on how to build trust. The review does not provide any simple answers to whether trust in science is generally in decline or whether we are returning to a less enlightened era in public life with decreased appreciation of knowledge and truth. The findings are more nuanced, showing signs of both distrust and trust in environmental science.

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