Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What do Journalists need to write powerful stories about Climate Change?

I have been working in the last four years on the topic of climate change. I found that many journalists have been telling people about the effects of climate change, such as the rise of temperatures, chaos in weather patterns, and drought that causes crop failures. Then these stories are used to be followed with the sentences; “we need to take action seriously towards reduction and reversal of global warming” Many articles only showed the problems from climate change with general or wide coverage, such as sea level rise and drought. Telling these stories make people think that “the climate change problem is really big and nothing I may be able to do to solve it”. Some people even think that the problem is exaggerated.

Now I am studying this hottest environmental topic in the best university for environmental science. I found that climate change is a statistical phenomenon that is difficult to be experienced directly, it presents a unique challenge for the human brain. Showing people long-term trends in the average global temperature simply does not carry the same weight in their decisions as the type of strong emotional reactions formed through (negative) experiences. Affective cues—fast and associative judgments of things people like and dislike—are formed through everyday experiences, and they help people make judgments and decisions, especially about risks. People brains are equipped with a biologically hard-wired alarm system that motivates responses to immediate environmental threats. The problem is that because they cannot readily see, hear, or experience the risk of climate change, so their risk warning system is not activated. So, how the journalists can activate it?