Page Kelley Environmental Communications Professor Cannabis Environment and the Media In this world, the human population consists of 7 billion people who are varying in location to 7 separate continents, with 196 different countries among them. One thing that we all have in common is that we all share one single world. With a net population of growth this year, thus far, of 77 million people and counting (Real Time World Statistics), there is one common, underlying problem; the care of the environment. Some problems may seem insignificant to one country, while it is taking a huge toll on another.If everyone takes a step back and studies the big picture, they will realize that every single environmental issue will eventually have an impact on all 196 countries, whether they are feeling the pain now or not. However, not everyone can see the big picture, and this is because the media will only tell the public what they think will concern the listeners and tend to leave out what is happening across the globe.
Ted Turner, a founder from CNN said it best, “We must go through a natural revolution if we are to survive on earth. We need to change people’s perceptions. If there is no environment, there’s no human race.We are in a state of global denial” (Project for Improved Environmental Coverage). The media’s motto can be summed up by a popular quote, “out of sight, out of mind”; however, this motto does not work when pertaining to global, environmental concerns.
In order for the public to be aware of the environmental issues they are being faced with, the media has to put out stories and cover these issues. The Project for Improved Environmental Coverage (PIECE), a nonprofit initiative dedicated to improving environmental news coverage conducted a study to demonstrate the lack of coverage n the media on environmental issues.The PIECE is a program of SEE Innovation, an organization whose mission is to build awareness, capacity, and structures for social and environmental transformation (Greening the Media). The first study conducted showed the environmental coverage that is in cable news. They surveyed headlines from forty-three news and related organizations coming up with the following results.
Fox News had the highest percentage of coverage with a mere 1. 57 percent. The other two major news channels, MASC. and CNN do not even break 1 percent coverage. They had a total coverage of 0. 9 percent and 0. 6 percent respectively.
Even if combined, the two will not break 1 percent (Project for Improved Environmental Coverage). This Just goes to show that even though the media has the ability and power to play a significant role in the environmental communication process, they do not put enough effort into the issues to make an impact. Aside from looking at cable news, the PIECE also conducted a study of online news sources. The results were as follows: As you can see, online news sources may have a slightly higher coverage percent, but they are not making a dent in what needs to be covered.The environment is deteriorating and if the public is not exposed to this information, nothing will be done about it. So many of you may ask then, where is all of the coverage going? Both entertainment news and crime are two topics that receive a considerably higher amount of mentions than the environment. Another study conducted shows that on average, entertainment headlines get over three times more coverage than environmental stories when looking at nationally prominent news organizations. Also, Lebanon James received almost sixty times more mentions than the growing issue of franking (Greening the Media).
The above graphs put into perspective for everyone where the media coverage is going and the absence of environmental mentions when necessary. On another note, based on a person’s location in this world, they may have drastically different views on the environment because the media has chosen to either keep the area in the dark, or throw them into the limelight. This leads to people having varying concerns and priorities when it comes to environmental issues. An example of this is when we look at a farmer who is located in rural Nebraska with open land extending for miles compared to an urban business man ho is living on Wall Street.It is simple, news reports will not report on overpopulation to the folk of Nebraska because they will not be able to relate; however, because of the differing environments of these two men, the businessman living in Wall Street will see these reports becoming more significant every day. Following that simple example, there is further proof about how varying locations have an effect on who is concerned. In 2012, National Geographic and Globe Scan conducted a research project entitled Grounded 2012: Customer Choice and the Environment – A Worldwide Tracking Survey.
In this survey approximately 1,000 nonusers in 17 countries were questioned during April 2012. The goal of this survey was to gather the opinions of these consumers on global issues of today’s society and then use that data to focus on actual behavior and material lifestyles. For the purpose of this report, focus was taken on consumer’s answers to questions of concern about environmental issues such as global warming, water pollution, air pollution and human overpopulation (Grounded 2012). When examining the survey, the first issue that was looked into was concern about global warming and climate change.According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Earth’s average enrapture has risen by 1 .
OFF over the past century, and is projected to rise another 2 to 11. OFF over the next hundred years. Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather (Climate Change). There is a lot of controversy over whether or not global warming is an actual occurrence, or if it is Just normal temperature changes taking place.
Lately, more and more people have become convinced of the effects of global warming such as an overall increase in world temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns such as more hurricanes and drought. Professor Eric Masking, renowned environmental economist, said, “The economic and social costs of global warming could be huge. We need to act now to limit them” (Global Warming).
Although it is clear that Professor Masking is concerned with the phenomenon of global warming and climate change, the general public may need some convincing with the help of the media.According to the survey conducted by National Geographic, only 21% of Americans stated that they were very concerned about global warming, with only an additional 24% relatively concerned, and 12% were not concerned at all. France, Germany, Britain and Australia all showed a similar distribution of consumer concerns to that of the Americans with regard to global warming (Grounded 2012). These results prove that although the concern of global warming in increasing in the scientific point of view, the public do not seem to be phased by the issue.
To most people, water is seen as pure and referred to as the basis of life.After all, the human body is made up of about 60% water. Water can provide a means for transportation, and also a source for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. This “tool” is used in everyone’s everyday life and without it, organisms of NY kind would not be able to survive. So why is it that in developing countries, 70 percent of industrial waste is dumped, untreated, into waters where they pollute the usable water supply? (UN Water). Why is it that every day, 2 million tons of human waste is disposed of in water courses? (UN Water). The public is not concerned.Based on the study done by National Geographic, Americans are mildly concerned on this issue with 24% very concerned and 31% relatively concerned about the issue.
Among those least concerned was Britain with 19% not concerned at all and 26% relatively concerned. Sweden and Germany’s were also on the low concern scale with less than 15% having strong concerns about water pollution and having 22% or more caring very little or not at all (Grounded 2012). In the past, toxic waste in the water supply has caused rivers to ignite and go up in flames due to their flammability.In Ohio in the year 1969, the Quahogs River caught fire. It was one of nine on the river since 1868. According to Time Magazine, rivers provide many services to people and cities; “they serve as convenient, free sewers” (America’s Sewage System).
The people need to be more informed by these media sources in order to take action against turning our water supply completely toxic and deeming them unsafe or unusable. Alongside of water, air is another resource that everyone takes for granted, but without it, survival would be impossible.According to the National Resources Defense Council, “Each year power plants pump more than two billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air” (NRC). In the past 150 years, activities that release carbon dioxide into the air have pumped enough into the atmosphere to raise its levels higher than they have been for hundreds of thousands of years (National Geographic: Air Pollution). Along with carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CIFS), and sulfur dioxide can cause smog, deteriorate the ozone layer, and lead to acid rain.When looking again at the National Geographic study, one can see that America, Australia, Germany, Sweden and Britain made up the countries which had less than half the population with concerns about air pollution and upwards of having little to no concerns. On the other hand, consumers in China, Mexico and Brazil had over 83% of the populations with strong or relative concerns about air pollution.
Also, Joining these three are Argentina and South Korea, tit 78% of the population having concerns and less than 5% having little or no concern.Looking to the positive side of air pollution, it “has been declining for decades across the United States despite the fact that people are driving more miles, using more energy, and producing more goods and services than ever. Between 1980 and 2005, average levels of air pollution fell between 20 percent and 96 percent, depending on the pollutant” (Blue Skies, High Anxiety).
However, the media is doing nothing to inform the people because many are still concerned with pollution. They are misinforming the public on many accounts. In November 2001, the Sierra Club reported, “Smog is out of control in almost all of our major cities. Those words were published Just after the nation had achieved two record-low years in a row for both ozone and PM. 5 (Blue Skies, High Anxiety). There are countless other examples of false media coverage on air pollution. This Just goes to show how the media can alter anyone’s point of view on a topic or issue, whether or not it is true or not. In this case, the media may be spreading the word, but it is not a good thing.
The media needs to keep the public informed, but also present them with accurate information in order or them to take action. Over thousands of years, the human population has been growing at an exponential growth rate.With this growth comes inhabited land, and with more and more inhabited land, comes deforestation and destruction of that very land. It is a never ending cycle that puts our environment at great risk. To date, approximately 5 million forests have been lost this year.
That is about 14 thousand just today. With destruction rates that high the public should be extremely concerned. As we look into the Grounded survey once again, we see that India has the sights concern with overpopulation coming in with 49% of people being very concerned and an additional 25% who are relatively concerned.That is accounting for nearly three-quarters of their population. Next in line were Mexico, China, and Brazil who had nearly 60% of the population with concern for overpopulation. Among the lowest of concern were the Koreans, the Japanese, and the Germans with over 30% of their populations caring very little or not at all.
America was almost dead center in the standings with 16% of the population very concerned, 22% moderately concerned, and a total of 24% having little or no concern at all. India is very righteous in being the most concerned country because according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Data Base, they will be the most populace city in the world with 1. 8 billion people by the year 2050 (CNN).
This amount of growth for India will lead to an uncertain future for the environment and people living there. People may be aware of the overpopulation issue, but the media does not promote anything against it. The American Dream is to grow up, have a well-paid Job, get married, and have kids. No one thinks twice about having a family because they are not exposed to the implications it may cause. The media can make a difference.We have seen it happen countless times. Social media is a form that has been a strong benefactor for environmental communication because it is an extremely useful and an easy way to spread word quickly to every part of the world.
One example of this is Jonathan Deal. He was the winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize. His efforts started when he began a Faceable group to educate the public about the risks of franking. The page quickly gained an active membership of more than 7,000, some of whom Deal convened at a meeting to form Treasure the Karol Action Group (Goldman Environmental Prize).His viral social media efforts coupled with on the ground efforts led to the halt of franking in some areas. Through the use of media, he went head to head with some high up organizations in order to make a difference. As stated above, the media can aid in change. The public Just has to have the drive to realize the daunting effects of these environmental issues and want to make a difference.
If everyone is okay with the environment falling apart and our world slowly diminishing, nothing will get fixed. People are not concerned and do not believe they need to cake a difference now because it will not affect them personally or immediately.People think that it will only affect future generations so why should they worry now. But the fact of the matter is that is their family that will be faced with these worsening issues. All in all, the proof is all there. The people are not concerned enough with the environmental issues that are at hand.
This is mainly because the media is not properly allocating their time to report on these issues. A psychology phenomenon known as the mere exposure effect can be applied. This effect basically tastes that the more we are exposed to something, the more familiar we become with it and even start to like it.If the media is constantly throwing environmental issues into news reports, the public will become more and more familiar with the issues at hand and thus make them feel the desire to act. We can take care of this place we all call home, we Just need a little support and drive from the media to make us realize the actual harm and effects.
Yes, we may all come from different places and may be experiencing different issues, but we need to come together as one global unit to fix our world.