Climate change is a polarizing issue in the United States. It’s no surprise that opinions are divided along political lines. The green movement has been associated with the kind of gentrified lampooned by South Park and right-wing radio. At the same time, it’s been appropriated by major corporations who use it as a cheap marketing gimmick.
When it comes to news coverage of climate change, however, media in the United States is lagging far behind the rest of the world. According to an analysis by Media Matters, media coverage of climate change declined in 2015, this despite the fact that it was a historic year for climate-relate news.
“In a year when nearly 200 countries around the world collectively recognized the threat of climate change and the United States made historic commitments to cut carbon pollution, major networks actually cut their media coverage of climate change,” wrote Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). “In 2015, the network Sunday shows devoted just 73 minutes to climate change, a ten percent decrease from the year before.”
“What makes these findings even more troubling is the fact that with the little time devoted to climate change, these Sunday shows continued to mislead their audiences by including climate denial as part of the discussion. The facts are clear. Scientists, governments, and major corporations around the world have accepted the facts about climate change and are having real debates on solutions. In this consequential election year, it’s time for news broadcasters to do the same.”
The combination of increased green marketing and decreased media coverage no doubt breeds apathy about the very real climate issues we’re still facing. Not to mention, so-called “green” consumer-choices are often expensive or impractical for working-class people.
It’s important to keep the climate dilemma in the hearts and minds of all Americans if we are to make the lifestyle changes needed to reduce our individual carbon footprints.
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