Journalism is an essential part of society that connects the citizens of the country with information in an unbiased manner. It is an activity of accessing, gathering and creating the news and presenting it through media outlets, print media, television, radio or online. Several disciplines in journalism deal with several topics and aim for different objectives. One such niche of Journalism is Environmental Journalism which has been impactful in recent times considering the ongoing climate crisis agendas all around the World.
“The sole aim of journalism should be service.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
Environmental Journalism and its Objectives
Environmental Journalism is a type of Journalism that deals with nature and environmental concerns like sustainability, biodiversity and renewable energies. Its main aim is to create awareness among the people. The current scenario of the planet being affected by human activity is immeasurable, where environmental journalism plays a crucial role. The impact administered by its existence is paving the world to betterment at a slowly steady pace.
There are several underlying objectives that environmental Journalism aims for:
Promoting it among the Population
In general, humans weaken the environment and its relevance. The impact of its deterioration is like a slow poison where consideration is important. Environmental Journalism achieves this.
Highlighting the basis for topics ignored by general media.
General media is one of the major sources of information for the human population that is mostly ignorant towards the environment. This is where Environmental Journalism covers a piece of essential information regarding this.
Creating synergies among members of the public, communicators, institutions, NGOs and any agents involved in environmental issues.
Journalism is a bridge that connects the various bifurcations of society on the same plane for the importance of the environment and Nature. This creates a space for discussion of the impacts of nature due to human intervention for crucial topics.
Promoting the approval and improvement of environmental policies.
Journalism’s influence on significant actions that can interfere with nature causes doubts about the veracity of those actions to surface. Later, pushing the governments to adopt policies and reaccess existing ones for the same, while also being mindful of nature.
Role in Influencing the World
Considering the term, the environment is very wide in the sense and journalism aims in creating awareness among people directly or indirectly with the natural surrounding of human beings. Journalism is a method through which the local is connected with the global and becomes an essential part of the proposed solution. The climate crisis, the collapse of natural life support systems, the rise of zoonotic diseases and the pollution of air, water and soil are often first apparent in distant regions and poor communities. The causes and ultimate consequences can be discovered in wealthier and more densely populated cities.
The main focus of the Journalist is Biodiversity, Water Resources, and pollution to name some of the highlighted topics. Some of the calamities that were covered included information on natural disasters like the fires in Australia, Hurricane Dorian, and the summer heat waves that ravaged Europe. Also, Initiatives and events such as COP(Climate Change Conference) and the Sustainability Development Goals are promoted through it. Any news related to the rise of non-polluting energies that captures the attention of these professionals is highlighted by the Authors. Other information offers suggestions to improve composting, recycling, and limiting the usage of plastics.
Bringing about a Change
The Role that Environmental Journalism plays in disrupting the nature harming policies and changing them accordingly. Some of the News covered to bring the harm it does to the nature and earth is brought to the attention of local as well as Global. This also gets the attention of Governments as well as indirectly pressurizes them to rethink the policies. Their impact of them is constituents to the bigger picture exposing the Governments and the Industry’s unfair and inconsiderate motives for capitalism’s sake. Some of the recent stories that got covered worked as a medium for exposure.
In August 2019, the United States newspaper The Intercept published a leaked audio in which the oil lobby, in a private conference, in reaction to the well-known protests against the Dakota Access pipeline a few years ago, recognized its impact on law-making in many US states to criminalize protests against oil and gas projects. Leaked audio recordings demonstrate how the US oil lobby was successful in pressuring the government to make pipeline demonstrations illegal.
A Chinese mining corporation that intends to investigate coal reserves in Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park is a recent case of 2020. Because domestic reports showed that the government was willing to prioritize economic interests over the sanctity of one of the most significant habitats for elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, and other animals, local conservationists were eager to spread the word globally. It succeeded. Days after articles appeared in the Guardian and other publications, the authorities declared they would halt the project.
Environmental Journalism is a phase of the media that acts as a shield and also a spear. It duly defends the natural resources that are essential to human well-being. Attacking organizations as well that care about organizations that want to damage the environment and nature. Recently, as the planet is deteriorating day by day, it could provide a way to slow it down or even reverse it to some extent. The Role it plays in raising awareness, changing people’s Perspectives and influencing the policies of the Authorities. It has an effect on a wide range of environmental issues, which makes it a crucial component of the media.
- editor, J.W.G. environment (2020). Climate crisis: does journalism actually make a difference? The Guardian. [online] 9 Oct. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/09/turning-up-the-spotlight-how-our-climate-coverage-has-made-a-difference [Accessed 16 Aug. 2023].
- Iberdrola. (n.d.). Environmental journalism: the best way to raise awareness about climate change. [online] Available at: https://www.iberdrola.com/culture/environmental-journalism [Accessed 16 Aug. 2023].
- Masterclass. (2021). 9 Types of Journalism: Soft News vs. Hard News Explained. [online] Available at: https://www.masterclass.com/articles/types-of-journalism [Accessed 16 Aug. 2023].