What the balls more do you want from me Chris and Sheril? I am only one scientist! Now I have to solve scientific illiteracy too? Fuck!!!"
I'm not saying we are trained to do outreach. Clearly we're not. I'm just saying it's not an excuse. We all need to find an outlet or two to which we can contribute effectively. Lobbying on the Hill is one end of a multi-dimensional outreach spectrum. Spending an hour or two at an elementary/middle/high school demonstrating that science and scientists can be cool is at another.
Neither am I, but I think we are getting ahead of ourselves with all the talk about going to speak to Congress in Washington DC and even setting up elementary school programs. Because we are not even covering the basics!
This brings me to the following poll for my US readers. For this purpose, signing on to spamming efforts by your academic societies does not count. I'm talking about an email that you took the trouble to at least customize from a suggested text or, preferably, generated yourself. Also, let's only count phone conversations that get slightly more substantive than "I'm calling to recommend Critter X vote for HB 123.45".