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An approach to science, health and environmental issues

An approach to science, health and environmental issues

Hey Pamela Howard Forum for Global Crisis Coverage I spoke with Meggie RodriguezMember of the Oxford Climate Journalism NetworkWhich addressed the most common topics in the fields of science, health and environment.

Cover the science without denial

Rodriguez highlighted the challenges of covering science as the anti-vaccine movement grows during the pandemic. “Many colleagues still need to debunk the remnants of fake news. People are starting to question the effectiveness of traditional vaccines such as polio. Diseases that were globally eradicated are making a comeback because vaccination coverage is lower,” he adds.

It draws attention to Studies on the long-term effects of Covid on the body. Four years after the pandemic began, research is able to provide more consistent answers about lingering effects on the nervous system, organs and memory. “It is important to maintain specialized vehicles, because they are generally the ones that cover these issues,” he points out.

Putting the climate crisis on the agenda

Diseases favored by rises in average temperatures, global population migrations, and energy transition paradigms are issues that Rodriguez has highlighted in the media. The journalist highlights that these and other climate change topics should not be a niche, but rather an angle through which coverage is done. “For example, it is impossible to talk about economics and fashion without talking about sustainability,” Rodriguez explains. “Fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world and the Brazilian economy is fundamental and dependent on limited resources, such as raw materials, and the expansion of agricultural frontiers. This bubble that separates interconnected issues only benefits capital.”

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For her, journalism plays the role of expanding knowledge and providing tools for people to make informed choices. “Investigative coverage should demand responses from big business and reveal the impacts of actions that threaten biomes and our health.”

How to deal with renewable energy

Rodriguez notes that complex issues, such as renewable energy, require coverage that addresses the contradictions of the topic. Renewable energy generation brings many benefits and eliminates dependence on pollutants, such as oil, but it also brings social and environmental impacts. “The wind energy complex could displace many families in the area. We stayed with the Manichaean logic. “It is good to consider the good and bad sides of the solutions,” says the journalist. “We need to trust the public and stop believing that they are stupid and do not understand the contradictions.” .

For her, the need to update discussions is ongoing because these complexities tend to increase with climate change. “It is important to analyze what is being discussed in academia to dig deeper into the agenda. Without getting the public to think, journalism cannot be an instrument of change.

What electric cars can represent

Despite being more sustainable, electric cars are questioned by Rodriguez because they use the same production model, without benefiting the communities from which lithium deposits are extracted to manufacture the batteries. “We have to be more critical of new technologies. Do these solutions change the logic of production and consumption? This is the essence of biodiversity loss and climate change.

The journalist points out that despite the noble goal of building a less polluting car, other problems persist. “The surroundings stay the same. At the end of the day, we don't question whether we have to buy a car because public transport is bad. We replace cars with cars. And it's not just carbon generation, it's urban mobility as well.”

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Diversity to reach the audience

Raising public awareness about the effects of climate change depends on journalism that makes sense to the public. Rodriguez cites research he conducted Reuters Institute About the removal of fans in Brazil, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Among the report's conclusions is that the coverage does not reflect vulnerable communities, and portrays a stereotypical view that belittles these areas, without listening to those involved. “Journalism is mostly done by the white middle class who doesn't know the reality of the suburbs. There is a lack of diversity in the dominant media. It is clear that the population will not care about this news.”


Image: Canva