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For me, an enduring personality during the 2015 Regional Forum on Climate Change held in Bangkok last week (1-3 July) is climatologist Daniel Price who is biking 17,000 kilometres from the Antarctic to Paris to raise understanding of climate change.

Although science has “won” in providing evidence on climate change, a wide gap in public understanding of the problem still exists. This and the slow pace of negotiations, plus the melting polar ice caps from rising temperatures, prompted Price to establish his project called Pole to Paris.

“The climate change tale has gone stale. We need urgent action on the matter so we want to capture the experience of the average person to tell stories about climate change impacts while informing the public about COP21,” Price tells SciDev.Net in Bangkok. He is funding the project with US$10,000 of his personal savings.

Pole to Paris is a simple, intuitive platform to raise understanding and rally public support for an outcome, in this case a legally binding climate deal. The timing also aligns with the dialogue’s shift from a loss-and-damage perspective to one of a human rights issue.

The symbolic journey of Price offers a radical idea on how scientists can engage the public by becoming effective science communicators.

Price admits climate change is an abstract concept that is difficult to communicate.

The human face in the climate narrative has been an elusive missing link. By going to communities, scientists can discuss and learn how people deal with climate change daily and how policymakers perceive climate change and likewise see lessons and challenges on adaptation and mitigation.

Recently, ministers from three vulnerable Asian countries cycled with Price to support the campaign.

Will other scientists follow Price? One thing is certain, even small symbolic efforts like what Price is doing now to shake up global discourse are a welcome development, especially towards making scientists speak up about research and engaging the public to understand science and care for important policy outcomes.

This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's South-East Asia & Pacific desk.