Despite universal recognition that environmental policy should be informed by robust scientific evidence, this is frequently (and perhaps increasingly) not the case, even in wealthy countries such as Australia. How can the scientific community respond to this fundamental problem? While acknowledging that many constructive actions can be taken, and that scientists have a direct responsibility to inform the policy-making process and advocate for sound policy positions, we contend that such responses are insufficient unless the wider community is better informed and engaged. We agree with those who believe that a broader democratization of the policy-making process is essential to improving this situation, and that an expanded application of scenario planning, augmented with targeted public-opinion surveys, has considerable potential. Used in this way, scenario planning can help scientists engage with and inform citizens about the kind of world they want to live in, while incorporating the best science about possible futures.