This is the third IJNotes episode in our series on environmental journalism. To listen to the previous episode – The keys to environmental justice reporting – click here.
Extreme weather events and natural disasters have ravaged many communities around the globe, and their devastating consequences seem only to be intensifying. This past year alone, the world witnessed record droughts in the U.S. and Latin America, while China and Europe suffered fatal floods. Hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires also dominated headlines due to the significant destruction they’ve caused.
Are these events all related to climate change? How should reporters explain the connection between extreme weather and rising temperatures? How can they approach the coverage of these emergencies without being sensationalist?
For the third episode in our Environmental Journalism series, we spoke with multimedia journalist Tais Gadea Lara from Argentina. “These events depend on some factors — and some of these factors have been changing because of climate change,” she explained.
In the episode, Gadea Lara provides her expert advice on the main aspects of covering extreme climate events. “It’s a challenge,” she said, to cover these situations, but for her it’s also “the best opportunity” journalists have to report on the causes and consequences of climate change.
She also stressed the importance of choosing the right words. “If we talk about natural disasters or environmental disasters, maybe the audience thinks that it’s something on which humans [don’t] have any responsibilities,” she said. “If we talk about climate events, then it’s something that [is starting] to be related to climate and we are changing the climate — so maybe we have a little or more responsibility on that.”
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