Saturday, February 22, 2014

Telling the Tough Nut

It's a tough nut to crack -- communicating the reality and urgency of climate change and motivating people to do something about it.  It's something covered in this blog often, from a personal scuffle with a denier to some excellent best practices.

It would help, though, if the mainstream media would talk more about it.   Let's face it, if it's not in the media, it's perceived as unimportant, or it's not perceived at all.

According to a report from the School of Politics and Communications Studies, the "total number of articles on climate change printed over three years was fewer than one month’s worth of articles featuring health issues.  The articles offered mixed messages about the seriousness and imminence of problems facing the environment."

“Our research suggests that the media is not treating these issues with the seriousness that scientists would say they deserve.  The research company lpsos-MORI found that 50% of people think the jury is still out on the causes of global warming," said Neil Gavin of the School.

That's on us.  Professional communicators are not doing their jobs if half the people out there think there is still a debate.  Another result shows a huge lack of understanding of what excess carbon pollution is doing to the planet.

The study finds a strong connection between U.S. weather trends and public and media attitudes towards climate science over the past 20 years -- with skepticism about global warming increasing during cold snaps and concern about climate change growing during hot spells, according to Science Daily.

Whew, this is a tough nut.

Let's remember that weather is local event but climate change is something happening on a global scale.

Average global temperatures have been increasing for decades.  That it's an average of the entire planet -- hundreds of thousands of recordings.  Measure a cold snap in your hometown against thousands of higher-than-previous temperatures all over the planet every day of the year and you begin to see why it's called global warming.

Let's remember that shipping companies are putting new polar routes on their maps through what was previously ice-covered ocean.

Let's remember that it's not natural -- past warming events millions of years ago took thousands of years to happen. That's natural.  Our pace has been off the charts faster, try over the past 200 years, when the industrial revolution began, not coincidentally.

That scientists don't say they're unsure -- scientist say it's definitely happening.  Sorry, make that out of 2,258 peer reviewed scientific papers written by 9,136 scientists from Nov 2012 to Dec 2013, only one scientist rejected man-made global warming.

Clearly, our work is cut out for us.

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