CommunicatingClimate Changein a DistractedWorld:DO YOU HEAR ME?Panos Climate Fellows Workshop,Kathmandu: 23-24 April 2013B...
Coming Up… Why Communicating Climate Change [C3]matters Where & how does media fit in? What do ordinary people already ...
Where I come from… Trained as science writer Worked in newspapers, radio & TV News, features, interviews, op-ed Resear...
School children’s demo: Malé, The Maldives: 18 Nov
Public demo: Malé, The Maldives, 18 Nov 1989
Two Trail-Blazers who inspired me…Tarzie Vittachi (1921 – 1993) Robert P Lamb (1952 – 2012)BBC, Earthscan, IUCN, UNEP,TVE ...
Information, Education andCommunicationon Climate ChangeMedia-basedpublic communication:PrintBroadcastMedia websites
Communicate what, exactly? Endless bad news? All Doom & Gloom? Denial/dismissal? Sparks of hope? Cautious optimism? ...
Communicate How? Alarmist (Sky is falling)? Confusing audiences? Artificially ‘balanced’ (case for &against CC?) Story...
Climate reporting sans labels…“Journalists don’t need to write ‘climatechange’ stories to influence decision-makers and pu...
The REALLY Bigger Picture…Data acquired by NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite over 9 daysin April 2012 and 13 days in October 2...
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov
Explore Google Earth -- at Night! Google Earth has mappednighttime images NASA’s own images +interactivity zooming in…...
Playground of the Asian Monsoon!Taken by Electro-L, Russian weather satellite in one single shot, at aresolution of 121mil...
Which angle to take?“An area as diverse as the Himalayasneeds localised, toads-eye science ifit is to learn how to adapt t...
Tarzie Vittachisms 1“Ordinary people live andwork in day-to-day ‘weather’.Most can’t relate to long-term‘climate’. It’s ou...
Responses to climate crisis…Communicating Climate Change
How do we handle it?
Crisis Fatigue? Global water scarcity Food shortages Energy crisis Increasing desertification Habitat & species loss...
2030: humannumbers: 8bThe PerfectStorm?- Sir John Beddington,UK Govt ChiefScientific AdviserMay 2009Communicating Climate ...
Communicating Climate Change
Where’s the Sense of Perspective?
Communicating Climate Change: C3 Understanding the science Keeping up with evolving science Grasping complexities, unce...
Communicating Climate Change
How do we tell this Big Story?How can we get heard – and heeded?
Robert Lambisms 1 There is no substitute togood story telling. (You can’t‘dress up’ a bad story withgimmicks.) Focus, fo...
My own Triple-S Formula… Informed by Good Science (butnot immersed in it!) Tell authentic, compellingjournalistic Storie...
Connecting the dots…“Its human nature to taketime to connect the dots. Iknow that. But I also knowthere can be a day ofrec...
Connect Dots…with caution! Integral part of story telling Dots not always self-evident Beware: Haste makes waste! Some...
C3 vs. P3: Key Barriers… Perceptions: Everybody graspspart of jigsaw Priorities: now & here vs. nextgenerational thinkin...
Communicating Climate ChangeWhat do people alreadyWhat do people alreadythink or know?think or know?
Climate Change in the Indian Mind Yale Project on CC Communication& GlobeScan, Canada Nation-wide survey of 4,031Indians...
Climate Change in the Indian Mind
Climate Change in the Indian Mind
Climate Change in the Indian MindMost trusted sources of info on CC: Scientists: 73% News media: 69% Environmental orga...
Public Perceptions onClimate Change in Sri Lanka 2010 1,000 people aged 18+ from all over SriLanka, surveyed March-April ...
LK: Top climate impacts feared…
LK: Info sources on current issues..70%74%94%9%13%13%52%7%27%Newspapers and magazinesRadioTVInternetMobile phone/SMS alert...
LK: Which info sources do you trust?33%42%88%51%9%4%2%3%1%Newspapers and magazinesRadioTVInternetMobile phone/SMS alertsPu...
LK: What prevents you from taking morepersonal action on Climate Change?Promoted response (multiplechoices allowed)Urban(%...
CC info: Supply and/or Demand? ‘Supply’: providing authentic,relevant and timelyinformation to all who needit, in languag...
Communicating Climate Change
Beware of language… Anthropogenic Solar radiation Precipitation Atmospheric disturbance Greenhouse gases ppm (parts ...
Who IS a climate expert?
Experts can make mistakes, too!April 2006: "Enjoy life while youcan. Because if youre lucky itsgoing to be 20 years before...
Look and Listen!“One doesn’t have to depend on aglaciologist to report basic facts suchas these, which are part of everyon...
Asia Media Report 2011 Journalists looking at the stateof climate reporting across Asia Taking stock of progress,challen...
BD: Challenges at top & bottom…“Reporting climate change inBangladesh faces formidable challengesas it is hard to reach th...
PK: Factors inhibiting CC coverage Editors & publishers not interested Too much event reporting (what), toolittle proces...
The Art of CC CommunicationEnvironmentalists & scientists havefailed to build sufficient urgency foraction. We need new co...
Why so sad, mate?“Environmental journalists often feelmarried to the tragic narrative.Pollution, extinction, invasion: The...
What can communicators do? Keep up with fast-evolving science Understand technical & political issues Communicate relia...
Where do YOU fit in?
SUMMARY: Balances to keep… Micro-Macro Today & Tomorrow Science & Society Media needs vs. public interest Sense of ur...
Robert Lambisms 2 To reach mass audiences, usepopular media & formats:tabloid newspapers, reality TV,whatever it takes… ...
Tarzie Vittachisms 2“EVERYTHING IS ABOUTSOMETHING ELSE..”- personal motto, displayedon Tarzie Vittachi’s door atUNICEF HQ ...
What to do with born sceptics?
Twitter: @NalakaG‘When Worlds Collide’ Sunday column:http://collidecolumn.wordpress.comwww.tveap.orgImages used in good fa...
Communicating Climate Change - Session with Panos South Asia Media Fellows - April 2013 - Nalaka Gunawardene
Communicating Climate Change - Session with Panos South Asia Media Fellows - April 2013 - Nalaka Gunawardene
Communicating Climate Change - Session with Panos South Asia Media Fellows - April 2013 - Nalaka Gunawardene
Communicating Climate Change - Session with Panos South Asia Media Fellows - April 2013 - Nalaka Gunawardene
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Communicating Climate Change - Session with Panos South Asia Media Fellows - April 2013 - Nalaka Gunawardene

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Presentation made by science writer Nalaka Gunawardene to Panos South Asia Climate Change Media Fellows at a regional workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 23 to 25 April 2013.

This is part of a Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) project for enhancing climate change awareness and understanding among journalists in South Asia. The project, which is currently in its second phase, has already produced several quality outputs across the region on Climate change–related issues.

Details at http://www.panossouthasia.org/Left_read.asp?leftStoryId=224&leftSectionId=3

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
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Communicating Climate Change - Session with Panos South Asia Media Fellows - April 2013 - Nalaka Gunawardene

  1. 1. CommunicatingClimate Changein a DistractedWorld:DO YOU HEAR ME?Panos Climate Fellows Workshop,Kathmandu: 23-24 April 2013By Nalaka Gunawardene
  2. 2. Coming Up… Why Communicating Climate Change [C3]matters Where & how does media fit in? What do ordinary people already know? How can media engage public & policymakers onCC? Barriers: Perceptions, Priorities, Politics [P3] Challenges to telling good stories Big Story…or Big Distraction from real stories?Communicating Climate Change
  3. 3. Where I come from… Trained as science writer Worked in newspapers, radio & TV News, features, interviews, op-ed Researching, presenting, producing Co-founded Television for Education, 1996TVE Asia Pacific, www.tveap.org Producing editorially independent video &web content on development issues Covering climate change from 1988…Communicating Climate Change
  4. 4. School children’s demo: Malé, The Maldives: 18 Nov
  5. 5. Public demo: Malé, The Maldives, 18 Nov 1989
  6. 6. Two Trail-Blazers who inspired me…Tarzie Vittachi (1921 – 1993) Robert P Lamb (1952 – 2012)BBC, Earthscan, IUCN, UNEP,TVE (UK), One Planet Pictures(UK), dev.tv (Switzerland)Ceylon Observer, The Asian,South, Sunday Times (UK), BBC,UNFPA, UNICEF, WorldPaper…
  7. 7. Information, Education andCommunicationon Climate ChangeMedia-basedpublic communication:PrintBroadcastMedia websites
  8. 8. Communicate what, exactly? Endless bad news? All Doom & Gloom? Denial/dismissal? Sparks of hope? Cautious optimism? Actionable info? Near/far news? Big Picture/small picture?Communicating Climate Change
  9. 9. Communicate How? Alarmist (Sky is falling)? Confusing audiences? Artificially ‘balanced’ (case for &against CC?) Story telling? Agenda setting? Advocacy journalism?OR GOOD JOURNALISM with:Accuracy, Balance, Credibility +EmpathyCommunicating Climate Change
  10. 10. Climate reporting sans labels…“Journalists don’t need to write ‘climatechange’ stories to influence decision-makers and public opinion. They canwrite business stories, health stories, oneconomics and politics -- even sportsand entertainment stories -- and usethese regular forms of journalism tointroduce the concepts of climatechange. After all, almost every activity,every policy and every choice we makecomes with a carbon cost or carbonsaving…”Mike Shanahanscience writer;Now with IIEDCommunicating Climate Change
  11. 11. The REALLY Bigger Picture…Data acquired by NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite over 9 daysin April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012 in 312 orbits.
  12. 12. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov
  13. 13. Explore Google Earth -- at Night! Google Earth has mappednighttime images NASA’s own images +interactivity zooming in… …zooming out (within range) Linked to geo-locations map Google Earth at night:http://tiny.cc/GMapN
  14. 14. Playground of the Asian Monsoon!Taken by Electro-L, Russian weather satellite in one single shot, at aresolution of 121million megapixels, 36,000 km above Earth, April 2012
  15. 15. Which angle to take?“An area as diverse as the Himalayasneeds localised, toads-eye science ifit is to learn how to adapt to climatechange. The eagle-eye view needs tobe complemented by view from theground…"toads-eye" science!People were not sitting aroundwaiting for an agreement... Millionsare voting with their feet everyday atthe grassroots level, reacting withcivic science & traditionalknowledge.”Dipak GyawaliWater Engineer;Former WaterMinister of Nepal
  16. 16. Tarzie Vittachisms 1“Ordinary people live andwork in day-to-day ‘weather’.Most can’t relate to long-term‘climate’. It’s our job [asjournalists] to make thoselinks clear, simple andaccessible...”Communicating Climate Change
  17. 17. Responses to climate crisis…Communicating Climate Change
  18. 18. How do we handle it?
  19. 19. Crisis Fatigue? Global water scarcity Food shortages Energy crisis Increasing desertification Habitat & species loss Ozone layer depletion HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria Absolute Poverty Run-away CLIMATE CHANGECommunicating Climate Change
  20. 20. 2030: humannumbers: 8bThe PerfectStorm?- Sir John Beddington,UK Govt ChiefScientific AdviserMay 2009Communicating Climate Change
  21. 21. Communicating Climate Change
  22. 22. Where’s the Sense of Perspective?
  23. 23. Communicating Climate Change: C3 Understanding the science Keeping up with evolving science Grasping complexities, uncertainties Looking for what’s: New, Interesting & True (NIT) Sense of proportion & balance Localising stories without losing global context Mix of mitigation & adaptation topics Avoiding myths, misconceptions & alarmismCommunicating Climate Change
  24. 24. Communicating Climate Change
  25. 25. How do we tell this Big Story?How can we get heard – and heeded?
  26. 26. Robert Lambisms 1 There is no substitute togood story telling. (You can’t‘dress up’ a bad story withgimmicks.) Focus, focus, focus! Simplify, simplify, simplify.Communicating Climate Change
  27. 27. My own Triple-S Formula… Informed by Good Science (butnot immersed in it!) Tell authentic, compellingjournalistic Stories in Simple (but not simplistic)ways (using accessible text,images, infographics, audio,video, interactive media…)Communicating Climate Change
  28. 28. Connecting the dots…“Its human nature to taketime to connect the dots. Iknow that. But I also knowthere can be a day ofreckoning when you wishyou had connected the dotsmore quickly."- Al Gore, in AnInconvenient Truth
  29. 29. Connect Dots…with caution! Integral part of story telling Dots not always self-evident Beware: Haste makes waste! Sometimes, we gotta create new‘dots’ on our own CC is a story in motion: somedots disappear, new ones appear Keeping up not easy!Communicating Climate Change
  30. 30. C3 vs. P3: Key Barriers… Perceptions: Everybody graspspart of jigsaw Priorities: now & here vs. nextgenerational thinking Politics: blame game, you-go-first approach to emissionsreductions Science alone can’t overcomethese! Nuance needed…Communicating Climate Change
  31. 31. Communicating Climate ChangeWhat do people alreadyWhat do people alreadythink or know?think or know?
  32. 32. Climate Change in the Indian Mind Yale Project on CC Communication& GlobeScan, Canada Nation-wide survey of 4,031Indians, during Nov-Dec 2011 Probed current CC awareness,beliefs, attitudes, policy supportand behaviour Collated public observations onchanges in local weather & climate+ self-reported vulnerability toextreme weatherCommunicating Climate ChangeFull Report at:http://tiny.cc/CCiIM
  33. 33. Climate Change in the Indian Mind
  34. 34. Climate Change in the Indian Mind
  35. 35. Climate Change in the Indian MindMost trusted sources of info on CC: Scientists: 73% News media: 69% Environmental organisations: 68% Own family & friends: 67% Govt & religious entities trusted byabout half of all respondentsCommunicating Climate ChangeFull Report at:http://tiny.cc/CCiIM
  36. 36. Public Perceptions onClimate Change in Sri Lanka 2010 1,000 people aged 18+ from all over SriLanka, surveyed March-April 2010 Part of Sri Lanka National ClimateChange Adaptation Strategypreparation process (2010-11) Used 3-stage Random Sample method Opinions, not a test of knowledge Covered climate awareness, infosources/needs, weather observationsCommunicating Climate ChangeFull Report at:http://tiny.cc/PPSL
  37. 37. LK: Top climate impacts feared…
  38. 38. LK: Info sources on current issues..70%74%94%9%13%13%52%7%27%Newspapers and magazinesRadioTVInternetMobile phone/SMS alertsPublic exhibitions, seminars,etcFriends, neighbors, colleaguesEducational institutionsOutdoor billboards, banners, etc
  39. 39. LK: Which info sources do you trust?33%42%88%51%9%4%2%3%1%Newspapers and magazinesRadioTVInternetMobile phone/SMS alertsPublic exhibitions, seminars,etcFriends, neighbors, colleaguesEducational institutionsOutdoor billboards, banners, etcOf those who identified a particular source type as a main source of info forcurrent affairs, how many % described it as a source they trust/believe themost
  40. 40. LK: What prevents you from taking morepersonal action on Climate Change?Promoted response (multiplechoices allowed)Urban(%)Rural(%)TotalSample(%)I don’t have enough technicalInformation77 84 83I don’t have enough time! 65 61 62I find some changes too costly–I can’t afford it right now67 70 70Some actions not practicable inmy area/line of work72 69 70I never thought I could make adifference!6 10 9Communicating Climate Change
  41. 41. CC info: Supply and/or Demand? ‘Supply’: providing authentic,relevant and timelyinformation to all who needit, in languages and formatsthey can use ‘demand’: inspiring people tolook for specific knowledge &skills to make themselvesmore climate resilientCommunicating Climate Change
  42. 42. Communicating Climate Change
  43. 43. Beware of language… Anthropogenic Solar radiation Precipitation Atmospheric disturbance Greenhouse gases ppm (parts per million) Human-made Sun’s rays Rain, sleet, snow, hail Storm Planet-warming gases ???Technocratic term/jargon Simpler way…Communicating Climate Change
  44. 44. Who IS a climate expert?
  45. 45. Experts can make mistakes, too!April 2006: "Enjoy life while youcan. Because if youre lucky itsgoing to be 20 years before ithits the fan."April 2012: it is still happening,but not as quickly once feared…the effect of the oceans was notwell enough understood to becertain of warming scenariosCommunicating Climate ChangeJames Lovelock,independent scientist;originator, Gaia theorywww.jameslovelock.org
  46. 46. Look and Listen!“One doesn’t have to depend on aglaciologist to report basic facts suchas these, which are part of everyone’slived experience. Journalists, if truthbe told, do not use their eyes and earssufficiently to pick up suchcommonplace corroboration of globalphenomena…”- Darryl D’Monte, environmentaljournalist; Ed. Asia Media Report 2011Communicating Climate Change
  47. 47. Asia Media Report 2011 Journalists looking at the stateof climate reporting across Asia Taking stock of progress,challenges, gaps, etc. Turning the light on ourselves… Edited by Darryl D’Monte Free download from:theasiamediaforum.wordpress.comCommunicating Climate Change
  48. 48. BD: Challenges at top & bottom…“Reporting climate change inBangladesh faces formidable challengesas it is hard to reach those affected incoastal regions. But the moreimportant challenge is to put the storyin a proper perspective. Influentialpeople try to withhold information asthey believe reporting on their failurewill irk those higher in theadministration…”- Mostafa Kamal Majumder, editor,The New Nation, BangladeshQuoted in AsiaMedia Report2011, chapter onBangladesh bySyful IslamCommunicating Climate Change
  49. 49. PK: Factors inhibiting CC coverage Editors & publishers not interested Too much event reporting (what), toolittle process reporting (how & why) Media obsessed with: unravellingconspiracy theories; implicatinggovts/politicians for everything; blamingWest and/or India for most problems Some journalists see ‘natural disasters’as ‘divine phenomena’ = God’s wrathZofeen T.Ebrahimwriting onPakistan inAsia MediaReport 2011Communicating Climate Change
  50. 50. The Art of CC CommunicationEnvironmentalists & scientists havefailed to build sufficient urgency foraction. We need new communicationapproaches. Some basic tips:1. Tell more unique, local stories.2. Focus on audience, not argument3. Use emotion and narrative.4. Be sensitive to North-Southdisparities.Full text: http://tiny.cc/MSanjODr M Sanjayan,Lead Scientist, NatureConservancy, USA;CBS News contributor@msanjayanCommunicating Climate Change
  51. 51. Why so sad, mate?“Environmental journalists often feelmarried to the tragic narrative.Pollution, extinction, invasion: Thestories are endless, and endlessly thesame. Our editors see the pattern andbury us in the back pages; our readerssee it and abandon us on the subwayor in the dentist’s office.”- Michelle Nijhuis, science journalistin ColoradoFull text:http://tiny.cc/MNTragicCommunicating Climate Change
  52. 52. What can communicators do? Keep up with fast-evolving science Understand technical & political issues Communicate reliable, latest info Add human faces to the global crisis Localise climate impacts for audiences Look for smart, pragmatic solutions Prepare people to live in a warmer world Mind our own carbon footprints!Communicating Climate Change
  53. 53. Where do YOU fit in?
  54. 54. SUMMARY: Balances to keep… Micro-Macro Today & Tomorrow Science & Society Media needs vs. public interest Sense of urgency vs. alarmism Good headlines vs. uncertainties Staying with long-term stories vs.advancing in media career ????Communicating Climate Change
  55. 55. Robert Lambisms 2 To reach mass audiences, usepopular media & formats:tabloid newspapers, reality TV,whatever it takes… Sustainability is a bitter pill.Sugar-coating is the only way toget it across!Communicating Climate Change
  56. 56. Tarzie Vittachisms 2“EVERYTHING IS ABOUTSOMETHING ELSE..”- personal motto, displayedon Tarzie Vittachi’s door atUNICEF HQ where he wasDep. Exec Director (1980-88)Communicating Climate Change
  57. 57. What to do with born sceptics?
  58. 58. Twitter: @NalakaG‘When Worlds Collide’ Sunday column:http://collidecolumn.wordpress.comwww.tveap.orgImages used in good faith.All quotes attributed or personally gathered.Nalakagunawardene.com

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