Letters to the Editor: Why climate journalism needs to give readers a reason to hope
If there’s no climate crisis, then how can you fight it?
It’s been a bad year for climate reporting.
The New York Times’ climate section is doing an abysmal job of reporting on the changing climate and its potential future for life on Earth. The Times’ coverage of the Arctic, the West Antarctic ice sheet, and melting glaciers isn’t helping people understand the urgency of the climate crisis.
This past year, the US Senate’s climate committee received more letters for its upcoming report than any other committee in the last two decades. The committee’s chair, and top Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), is working to make the Senate report about the “tipping point” of the climate crisis — when the average temperature of the Earth has already reached a level not seen in at least 850,000 years.
If there’s no climate crisis — and there isn’t one — then why are we fighting to pass legislation to address it? And why does the science on the Earth’s changing climate seem to be getting harder to communicate to the public?
Why does the media continue to print sensational headlines about “climate change” — when the scientists who study the phenomenon have called for a change from climate-change deniers to “climate communicators,” and because the media has for decades ignored the impacts of climate disruption in favor of stories about alleged climate change deniers?
And why does the media keep publishing articles about the potential of “climate journalism” — when the experts say that news organizations need to stop relying on anecdotal and personal stories from climate researchers and instead look for objective scientific evidence in order to develop a “true picture” of the climate crisis?
This past year, we have seen a new breed of climate journalism emerge. Environmental journalists who use research, data, and evidence to develop compelling, accessible, and interesting stories that help make climate change more widely known by the public. And we need to find ways to elevate climate journalism — with a mission equal to supporting the cause of climate activism.