Youth information driving the change

Katowice Dec 5th. Climate Change requires a strong public engagement to be faced and thus a massive information spreading is important to create awareness. But, how can it be possible when some issues related to climate change seem to be catastrophic and their effects lead to unfortunate news? And how can the youth contribute to transmit positive messages related to climate change?

During the side event “Youth Training Workshop at COP24 – Constructive Journalism as a way to initiate positive actions” held by YRE (Young Reporters for Environment), we faced the issue on how to communicate climate change in a proactive way, and how can youngsters make the difference in reporting in a constructive manner.

Together with two environmental reporters, we got into example, problems and solutions to communicate climate change through youth journalism. The session was held like a “Talanoa dialogue”: after the main speeches, some discussion groups on several topic questions were formed.

How is the news on climate change covered by media? Which are the stories that can either encourage or discourage people to take action on climate change? Several elements have emerged also after a confrontation among participants of different countries. Sometimes, climate change has not its right space on the media, sometimes it is neglected while in other times it is presented in a catastrophist way that brings people to be psychologically scared and to refuse the problem. Climate is often mislead by weather and there are frequently no references to the urgency of action. Instead, the alternative would be to present also solutions or tell the whole stories of those communities which have adapted or mitigated the climate effects. This would lead the listeners to identify themselves as active agents that can effectively tackle climate change.

It has been also pointed out the need to connect scientific information and the potential health impacts that climate change could have. On this scenario, the youth can have a great potential to act as a “constructive reporters” of climate change-related actions, using social media, traditional media and several other means of communication.

It should be important for them to promote fair and multi-source information reporting facts as they are and thus without the fear of being not popular. Furthermore, young people can exploit “peer-to-peer networks”, friends’ engagement and society mobilization in order to claim their future and be part of the solution. Information and awareness are the key elements of the action on climate change and youngsters have the power in their hands to be proactive and to build fair and positive habits for the communicating climate change.

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