do you Remember the report that one million of the earth's living species are threatened with extinction? The day after it was released last week, the british author and samhällsdebattören George Monbiot an outbreak. He wrote: ”the biggest and The worst news humanity has ever received – a collapse of life on earth – was unveiled yesterday. Only two british newspapers had it on their front pages.”
Then they went Monbiot on his twitter account through a series of newspaper faces, from the tabloids to the Financial Times. Nowhere was the news of what is called the sixth mass extinction of life on earth. Monbiot asked a provocative question: ”If you ask me, ’what industry is the biggest threat, the oil or the media?’ I would answer ’the media’. Every day mislead us. Every day they tell us that a lot of sinnesslött irrelevant things are more important than the collapse of all our workings.”
in this ointment? Yes and no. If one accepts the premise that the climate crisis together with the mass extinction is the largest and the worst news – the only current event that has the potential to both transform and destroy our entire civilisation, there are, of course, a huge bias in the media, in public way to handle it.
But at the same time, something has happened. In the week presented the annual survey from the Vi-skogen and medieanalysföretaget Retriever, ”a Warmer climate – ice-cold novelty?”, which shows a large increase in the Swedish klimatjournalistik the last year. In 2018, reported the Swedish media, 38% more on the climate compared with the year before; in Today's News, which tops the list, was written over 2,500 articles on climate, 64 per cent more than in 2017. The increase reflects, of course, an oscillation of the whole community: the environment, climate and energy are the three issues that voters identified as most important for the EUROPEAN elections and in the business sector indicates, was the fourth ceo the climate as one of the factors that will have the greatest impact in the future.
Read more: Klimatjournalistiken increases – DN, type
continue to evolve in the right direction? Climate change is sometimes divided into three areas – emissions cuts, climate adaptation and human suffering – and a realistic policy to determine which the interrelationship between these should be: we must prevent as much as possible of the emissions, to adapt to what we cannot prevent and have to suffer the consequences of what we cannot adapt to. Also a realistic klimatjournalistik should, therefore, follow these three tracks.
We are in a sixth mass extinction of life on earth, with a carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere at a level which has not existed in three million years. The truth is, no one can angle in the world vanish.
the emission Reductions for the first one, is klimatkrisens sine qua non: if not to reduce emissions, adaptation will become hopeless, and the suffering indescribably. For journalism, it is about putting more focus on the major structures and perhaps less on the individual's consumption – from vegoburgaren to the cement plant. SVT recently did a creditable disclosure, which showed that the shipping between Swedish ports is responsible for more emissions than domestic air travel, and there is a lot that speaks to the definition of what constitutes a ”scandal” will change in the future; maybe the future grävreportrar to review bensinräkningar instead of spritnotor.
the area, adapting to a klimatförändrad world, is also a new journalistic conditions. The american journalist Martha Mendoza recently told the Grävseminariet in Kalmar about the increasingly apocalyptic forest fires in California, where the whole infrastructure is about to grow up around the media skogsbrandsbevakning.
The third area, finally, comes the suffering. Of the week was awarded DN's photographer Lotta Härdelin well-deserved Nils Horner award for their pictures of how people around the world affected by the climate crisis, but as a collective, the Swedish journalists has so far failed to explain how the heating of the planet connected with global social phenomena that refugee crises, political tensions and geopolitical conflicts. Nor have we managed to depict how the climate crisis will affect us existential, with a possible loss of many of the everyday phenomena that make life worth living also in Sweden.
is today exposed to severe pressure. Not least, climate change is used from the right-wing populist press as a weapon in an ongoing kulturkrig.
It is sometimes said that the media as the antidote must avoid alarmism and be more constructive in their climate reporting. However, an accurate reporting on the world's biggest innovation is not a choice between domedagsbasuner and encouraging papptrumpeter. The truth is that we are in a sixth mass extinction of life on earth, with a carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere at a record pace rising to its highest in three million years. The reality is, no one can angle in the world vanish.
Perhaps, the media is – finally – on the way to learn to handle the biggest news in the history of mankind. It is in front of us is a journalistic unprecedented challenge. Just this week, it is hard not to think of Sven lindqvist's often quoted inledningsrader from the book ”Eradicate every last bastard”, ”You already know enough. I am also doing. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.”
the Text is a shortened and adapted version of a speech at the Mediemötet at the university of Gothenburg in a week. Read more of the Bear Wimans chronicles of the climate crisis – and about the book ”Late on earth. 33 thoughts on the world's biggest news”.