New Climate Reality, New Media
If every thing has to change this includes the media and public discourse about what we’re going through.
The vision of ‘Environmentalist’ Stanley Johnson on BBC’s ‘flagship’ programme Newsnight the day of the IPCC report has crystallized the problems of public broadcasters complete inability to cope with the reality we are all in; but the truth is the problem is widespread throughout the media, and, I suppose, society. as we try and get our heads around the fact that our economy is costing us our future.
For a long time now groups like Extinction Rebellion have been urging us to “tell the truth”. But the truth is now out and undisputed and the media has a responsibility to do more than that. It’s a prerequisite and a low bar to “tell the truth”. Of course we should, but what else should we do? If the IPCC report challenges everyone to rethink everything what does this mean for the media? Here’s some tentative ideas for discussion in the hope that some people might gather around this agenda.
- Call out the worst of columnists and publications spouting writing that is clearly against the common good and against humanity’s future. A weekly prize for the worst culprits. Naming and shaming disinformation and sponsored propaganda.
- Crowd-sourcing and drafting a positive new code of conduct for the media drawing on our collective understanding of the dramatic changes we’re experiencing.
- Creating spaces for story-telling that isn’t about facts and figures but is about telling the story about this time and peoples experience of climate breakdown and what it means.
- Creating a portal of Scottish and international coverage of the very best climate journalism. We’ll fund this.
- Profiling the very best scientific peer-reviewed analysis of climate reality.
- Focusing on environmental justice and social reality of inequality rather than the vague notions of “humanity”.
- Hosting difficult conversations and problems as we shift from pretending this isn’t happening to realising it really is. The trauma this involves is barely imaginable.
- Making alliances and collaborations for media outlets that are making the change and realising that we are all playing catch-up.
- Profiling real innovations and breakthroughs that bring hope (there are lots). Creating a space for the climate movement.
- Being realistic about the reality of the situation and avoiding liberal false hope and lifestyle-ism.
There’s a swathe of climate journalists who have been doing a great job for years. I suppose the problem is that most people still experience a media which says “Phew what a scorcher” and treats the fossil fuel industry like any other.
These are just some very rough ideas. I expect/hope others to have much better ones.