Being a scientist...being an engaged citizen...being locally active in my community...these are things I work on each day. These are some of the 'shoes' or 'hats' I wear. I know these color my perspectives and my actions. I often try to view the world without these accessories, to see another side of a story, to reflect on how others perceive my words and actions. This practice is very helpful when trying to find common ground with people who disagree with my opinions and I am often quite successful.
The times when I have the least success are times when the 'others' in the conversation are unwilling to accept statements that are considered factual within the scientific community. This can range from the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle to the links between carbon dioxide and our changing climate. I don't understand why so many people don't accept the science. If I want to know about taxes, I'll trust my accountant. If I want to plan a major event, I'll consult an event planner. If I offer my insights as an ecologist, I expect to have the same consideration for my education and experience that I give to others in their area of expertise - I've earned it!