On April 04, 2016 SLYCAN Trust in collaboration with Climate Action Network South Asia and Sri Lanka Press Institute conducted a workshop on “Reporting on Adaptation to Climate Change” that brought together journalists, climate change activists and environmental communicators to discuss best practices and options available for reporting on climate change.
Keynote speaker for the session was CANSA Communications Advisor, Shailendra Yashwant an environmental photojournalist and active climate change campaigner. His opening points included the co-relation of diseases and disappearing or endangered species that are related to the changing climate and how there is growing tendency for people to forget that countries with “richest, happiest and climate-friendly policies are those who have extracted resources from world over” prior to its current state.
“Today it has come to a point where the question of a developed and developing world or their levels of emissions not being the concern, but more so the need to filter out exaggerated claims on climate change and environmental news reportage,” said Yashwant.
Documenting the Narrative
He explained on how it was important for readers and content creators alike to look and create climate change stories with a human-centric angle as opposed to a scientific one that would enable to bring out the ground realities of what takes place in the world today. He went on to say that in order to narrate an unbiased story, it was important that writers, photographers and videographers speak to various stakeholders, beneficiaries and victims in order to get the context right. He reiterated on the importance of not pitching stories as “climate change” and journalism playing an important role in pushing environmental scientists and researchers.
Pitching into the discussion was Sri Lanka Press Institute CEO Kumar Lopez who said, “We still tend to look at climate change isolated from human intervention and activity.”
Role as Communicators
Both media practitioners and CSOs present alike spoke on the need to create a constantly updated knowledge resource or database on climate change accessible to reporters and those working on or studying climate change and for journalists to have with them access to a knowledge pool of latest research and information.