Climate change is a very real and very present part of our everyday life now. It’s of great concern to my parents generation, my generation and future generations. Sydney has seen some of the hottest days of the year already with temperatures climbing to the low 30s and expecting to reach up to 40 degrees… in October – the second month of spring. Not to mention Sydney is predicted to have the hottest summer on record since 1910.
95% of scientists agree that climate change is and will continue to greatly effect the lifestyles that we and our future generations live. There are very few things that scientists agree on (their job description is to test and prove theories) but climate change is nearly a unanimous and resounding IT EXISTS. Yet 50% of Australia’s general population believes that climate change is not real.
Journalists are practicing false balance. In Bud Ward’s article ‘Journalism Ethics and Climate Change Reporting in a Period of Intense media Uncertainty,’ he describes false balance as ‘…providing space disproportionate to its scientific credibility to perspectives running counter to what is now widely accepted as the ‘established’ scientific judgment.’ Mainstream media has made a number of mistakes when it came to discussing climate change to its audiences. One of the biggest in my opinion, was calling climate change a ‘debate’ – there is no argument nor should there have been any argument, it exists and humans are part of the reason for its existence.
A way to combat false balance is to start reporting on the real human effects of climate change. Some of the smallest islands with lowest carbon emissions output are suffering at the hands of the rest of the world, these people are being displaced from their homes and communities in the South Pacific due to rising sea levels. Already they are seeing the effects of water contamination, flooding erosion and there is serious concern for the loss of culture and tradition (Khorana 2013.)
Journalists need to start explaining that the process of climate change isn’t something that’s on its way, it’s here, it’s very real and real suffering is beginning to occur.