December 13, 2019  
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Words matter: Call it a Crisis

Words matter: Call it a Crisis
Over the past few years, more communities across this country and across the world have felt the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. We’ve seen lethal heatwaves, catastrophic hurricanes, record floods, disappearing rivers and water sources, and rising seas.

Yet mainstream media consistently fails us by using weak language that doesn’t show the scale or the impact of this crisis. Media outlets and televised news should not downplay what we’re increasingly experiencing - it’s time for them to call it what it is: a climate crisis.

Words matter. Add your name today to demand major media outlets call climate change a climate crisis, and to give it the frequent and in-depth coverage the crisis deserves.

We know it’s a crisis - maybe even the existential crisis of our lifetime.

Millions of school children around the world are striking from school to underscore that their future is at stake. The world’s top climate scientists are ringing the alarm bells as 1 million species are now at risk of extinction.

Yet, in 2018, only 3.5% of national television news segments discussing climate change referred to it as a “crisis” or an “emergency.” The coverage of climate change we see on the screen does not reflect the reality out in the world.

When media says “global warming” and “climate change” it downplays the scale of the threat we’re facing. This trickles down into a lack of urgency in the political sphere. These neutral phrases are overused and fail to elicit the strong emotional response needed to motivate people to take action against the fossil fuel industry for their role in this crisis.¹ Network television’s neutral approach to climate change is enabling complacency and inaction — this must stop.

As storms become stronger and low income communities of color are the hardest hit, time is running out. If the media doesn’t get the story right quickly, we will continue to pay the price while fossil fuel billionaires continue to line their pockets without public outcry.

Only 29% of Americans say they are “very worried” about climate change. It’s time the media help bridge this divide and spur widespread climate action to respond to this crisis.

Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 (Archive on Wednesday, June 5, 2019)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre

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