The water science communication problem

The water science communication problem

Sadie Hundemer, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, UF

Join us for the live stream September 21, 11:45am EST:

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Water science may be most valuable when it informs decision making. But what if people actively choose to believe the opposite of what water scientists are saying? This is the water science communication problem, and it threatens to undermine the decision influence of water research. In the Floridan Aquifer region, the rejection of water science has been observed on a political basis, dividing conservatives and liberals and setting the stage for obstructive politics. It is not just water policy that is divisive, but basic water fact. In this seminar, we consider why this is occurring and what can be done about it.


Dr. Sadie Hundemer is an assistant professor of agriculture and natural resources communication in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication (AEC) at the University of Florida. Hundemer completed her master’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of West Florida in 2014. In 2021, she received her doctorate from the University of Florida in Forest Resources and Conservation, specializing in human dimensions and natural resources communication.

Hundemer’s research draws from the fields of psychology, sociology, behavioral economics, political science, and communication science to understand and respond to the human dimensions of agricultural and natural resources challenges, including stakeholder conflict and political polarization. On the communication team for the Floridan Aquifer Collaborative Engagement for Sustainability (FACETS) project, Hundemer examines how communication combines with values and worldviews to affect support for water sustainability initiatives among agricultural producers, environmental interests, and the general public. Hundemer’s research agenda includes exploration of how scientific information is heard, learned, and used in a partisan environment; moral foundation and worldview framing effects; communication for environmental justice; and communication of wicked agricultural and natural resources problems.