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Stand Up for Sustainability
A letter from our Executive Director  

Happy New Year from My Green Lab!  We hope your 2017 is off to a great start.  Following an incredibly busy 2016, we at My Green Lab are looking forward to an exciting year. We're overhauling our Green Lab Certification program, developing and advocating for new standards for lab equipment and consumables, and gearing up to educate thousands of scientists across North America on sustainable best practices in the lab.

My Green Lab’s mission – to build a culture of sustainability through science – is more relevant now than ever before.  The last few years have seen general stagnation, if not reduction, in government support for scientific research.  The next few may see more of the same, coupled with reduced focus on environmental stewardship.  As we work together to navigate this uncertainty, it will be non-profits like My Green Lab that will be critical in preserving and ensuring resources for scientific research.

More than any other organization, My Green Lab will continue to be the loudest advocate for sustainability in science.  Our standards will continue to drive greater focus on conservation, reducing operational costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and unnecessary use of water and toxic chemicals, all while inspiring the development of more efficient procedures and equipment.  And it will be My Green Lab's outreach programs which ensure that the scientists of tomorrow are prepared to run environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable laboratories.

Collectively we are responsible for the future of research, our home, and each other.  Working together, we can continue to make science a paragon for sustainability around the globe. Please take a moment to check out our latest campaign, and help us to spread the word!

Featuring our February Green Lab Champion
Torrey Truszkowski  

Sustainability is everyone’s concern, and it is easy to spend all of one’s effort on environmental sustainability. Yet, economic and social sustainability are critical to science’s continued success. I have focused on social aspects of sustainability in my “life outside the lab” and I hope I can inspire you to join me on my quest for better science familiarity and literacy.

A year ago, I found out about a global network of events called Nerd Nite1. A colleague started a Rhode Island chapter and invited me to speak about my research. That went well, and we decided I would become a co-boss for the event series. This serendipitous connection has given me the chance to connect scientists with the public. The event itself consists of 3 speakers giving 15-20 minute talks on any topic of interest, although our speakers are mostly scientists. We strive to create a low-stakes environment for new science communicators and an encouraging environment for our curious audience.

It is hard to sit down, think about why you do science, and why what you do matters to others. But, now more than ever, we need to. I think about my own research – investigating the cellular mechanisms of sensory processing – and how it doesn’t map onto a disease. I think about my friend’s research – looking for genetically-based insights into schizophrenia – and how it brings into focus the magnitude of personalized medicine. These are hard subjects to describe. In my own work2 and when mentoring scientists new to science communication, I focus on telling a story. I take my facts and figures and create a narrative that people can relate to. Only by relating to our fellow human beings can we, as scientists, encourage the support science needs to succeed.

As I consider the circuitous route my adventures in science communication have taken, I can only hope that others will join me in speaking directly with people about our science and why it matters. Students, adults and politicians must know who we are and why we are driven by science. Our science communication matters as much as our science.

You can connect with Torrey on her website, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

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