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Overcoming climate gloom and doom

6th Asia-Europe Journalists' Seminar

If Martin Luther King had said, “I have a nightmare,” instead of “I have a dream,” how much change would he have inspired?

Using this historical anecdote, Jonathan Glennie, who blogs regularly for The Guardian, drew comparisons with how climate science writers today are faced with a similar challenge.  Climate change stories in the media tended to focus on too much gloom and doom, he told 30 journalists from leading Asian and European media organisations.

According to Per Meilstrup, Climate Director of top Scandinavian think-tank Monday Morning, the media has a responsibility in society like any other stakeholder.  He noted that focussing on opportunities and solutions from the climate debate is not anti-journalistic, and that the media, having the ability to promote change, has the obligation to do so.

The journalists, who came from 24 countries in Asia and Europe, were participants of the 6th Asia-Europe Journalists' Seminar held in Szentendre, Hungary (4-6 June 2011).  They gathered at the Regional Environmental Center (REC) to discuss climate change issues, and to study how the media can communicate such issues better and engage the public at closer quarters.

One of the take-aways from the seminar was the understanding that journalists should aim to balance stories about the negative impacts and consequences of climate change. They can explore presenting solutions and positive opportunities provided by this challenge. This was among one of 10 suggestions made by the journalists at the conclusion of the seminar, with the aim to improve the communication of climate change issues.

The Seminar was held in conjunction with the 10th ASEM Foreign Ministers' (FMM) Meeting in Godollo, Hungary (6-7 June 2011), which focused on non-traditional security challenges, among which climate change ranks as an important global concern.

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