I've been listening to Climate Connection on the BBC World Service. Five programmes around the theme 'what's stopping us from tackling climate change?' The listener is offered an array of causes for our species' dilemma of inaction. But one thing seems to be missing.
In episode one a Swedish advertising agency present their ingenoius solution: a staircase that plays a tune. Brilliant , why didn't we think of that before. At this point I wonder when the series is going to consider the media's role.
Episode two is largely in Africa where the witnesses are close enough to nature to notice but sadly not educated enough to understand it. One man confronted with climate change is sure it is god's will.
Episode three and we are in California. Psychology, the herd instinct, behavioural norms, motivation, and the "message selling global warming" are all examined ad nauseum. This episode steers clear of the politics and looks closely at individual behaviour. Yet it fails to note that individuals are informed by the media which is far from presenting the scientist's views. It is the missing piece in the jigsaw. An academic from George Mason University explains "cognitive psychologists say that we have a finite pool of worry". We meet another ad agency who come up with a line too vapid to bear repeating.
Episode four about leadership is somewhat inexplicably in Hong Kong. The most worthwhile quote in the whole series comes from Cambridge University's Stephen Peak "At the international level I think the problem is the way that nation states have decided to engage with each other on this issue. They behave like adolescents arguing with each other about how we got into this sate that we are, rather than applying more energy being more constructively with more imagination on how do we get ourselves out of the situation. That principally is the international problem"
With carbon tax incentives deemed politically unacceptable the question of authoritarian solutions is discussed. So without the suggestion of a media slant we have slided on to the deniers favourite territory.
Episode five was a debate in Milton Keynes, 'nuff said.
So, everything under the sun get's a mention except media slant. We rely on the media for our information and without that information we cannot be informed. Is loss of belief or mistrust of the media largely an impossible sentiment to express?