J500 Media and the Environment

Grave Prospects by Chardonnay
February 4, 2008, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , ,

100 percent agreement among scientists. The evidence is undeniable. Al Gore says so. Rogert Ebert is an advocate to fight global warming because “there is no other view that can be defended.” I don’t know about you all, but I’m hearing denial defended. Meltdown, a book by Patrick J. Michaels, a research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia defends another view for 323 pages. I’m not saying that global warming is as fierce a debate today as it once was. I’m certainly not saying that I don’t think global warming is real. I am saying that I think we may have been better prepared for the Millennium. At least people were sure about that. Okay so that’s a little too far, but really, I don’t think the fight is over. I have to admit I kind of catch what Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus are throwin’ here. They write, “…while public support for action on global warming is wide, it is also frighteningly shallow.” When asked if they wish bad things upon the environment, most will say no. I wonder if we asked would you be willing to sacrifice a luxury for environmental protection if the response wouldn’t be the same. While there is a lot of talk right now about the dangers of global warming, I personally see the widespread public apathy on a day to day basis, and I bet you do too. Death of Environmentalism is at no point saying that environmentalists aren’t trying, it just suggests that effectiveness might be at a low. Largely through materials in this class, I have come across some first-rate media attention to the subject. However, if our survival is truly at stake, why did I go on a walk with an intelligent, news-savvy travel companion a month ago and hear her say, “I don’t know if I even believe that global warming is real”? To me, the essay mostly sounds like a double-dog dare to environmentalists to step up their game. Our game, yes?

-Sonya English


4 Comments so far
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Great food for thought but don’t leave us hanging. . .”if our survival is truly at stake, why did I go on a walk with an intelligent, news-savvy travel companion a month ago and hear her say, “I don’t know if I even believe that global warming is real?””
What do you think? If you believe it, if the science is irrefutable, what gives?

Simran Sethi

Comment by j500

It stopped me in my tracks, but in my head my kneejerk reaction amounted to “uh.. yes huh..” so I bit my tongue. I had to double check when I got home that I didn’t make up that scientists had reached an overwhelming agreement. I think it’s due in large part to what we’ve touched on in class about the media intending to tell both sides of the story but ultimately giving more weight to the dissenting opinion than it should have. Also, hearing scientists like the one on the pbs documentary say definitively that global warming is not real makes me wonder if I’ve dreamt up the rest, too. What makes it ridiculous is that even those with a “motive” for advertising global warming as a hoax (this government-funded scientist on pbs, coal-miners) are inhabitants of this Earth with just as much to lose as anyone else. Until there is consensus that this is everyone’s problem that needs to be addressed (not debated) then I think we can expect people to let it blow over their heads.
Also, when do you sleep?

Sonya English

Comment by Sonya

That is the problem…. how do you frame a message to everyone?

Also, global warming is not a tangible thing for a lot of people. It’s like trying to describe infinity to some.
So, instead of talking infinity, why not start with one and build from there?

When people question global warming, or climate change, or climate disturbance, or climate global disturbance warming, maybe don’t argue that it is real, but rather break it to a smaller topic. Bring up the economic and health the benefits of riding a bike instead of driving to that person. Or to eat local because it is fresher, and probably has less preservatives. Emphasis what they can gain from making some changes.

The best form of mass-communication is the kind that imitates inter-personal communication. So how do you make climate global disturbance warming an inter-personal message?

Adam B

Comment by acbowman

Sonya, Sleep! I need it. Here’s the thing, science is always imprecise. Even the things we accept as fact are theories. I concur that storytellers have contributed to this problem – that’s why we must develop scientific literacy if we’re going to tell these stories. Otherwise we’re just too vulnerable to folks who may speak convincingly but not represent the majority opinion. Or, we may accept the majority opinion too quickly when it warrants further investigation.

Simran Sethi

Comment by j500

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