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The media and climate change

December 11, 2009

Helen Bird, Max Boykoff, Mike Goodman and George Monbiot discuss media coverage of climate change with Jo Littler in the latest issue (no. 43, December 2009) of the leftist magazine Soundings

How has the media coverage of climate change changed in recent years?

Helen It’s risen hugely up the agenda and is no longer in its little green box. There’s more of a general consensus that climate change is happening, and that it’s manmade, but areas of contention remain around how we actually tackle it.

Mike People are now confronted with climate change when they go to movies and watch TV, not just on the news, and this also raises a whole range of new political questions about its mediation.

Max It’s primarily in the mid to late 1980s that it came into the public arena. This was when in North America, James Hansen – often considered the godfather of climate change – told the Senate it was time to take action, and in Britain Thatcher spoke of the need to respond at the Royal Society. Media coverage vastly increased in 2006 and 2007, but recently it’s dropped off a bit. This is partly because of the focus on the recession, but it’s also because of the emergence of newer ways of talking about climate change without discussing it explicitly – for example, in the broader frame of ‘sustainability’. The way coverage is translated into content is another issue. The general trend has been to move away from scientific questions and into questions of impact, policy action and how it translates into our everyday behaviour.

Read on…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 11, 2009 11:52 am

    What can the anthropology of media contribute not only to the discussion on media and climate change, but also to collective action around climate change?

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