Media must play bigger role in the climate-change dialogue - Expert
Governments across the region must use the media to disseminate information on climate change initiatives, according to Dr Ulric Trotz, deputy director and science adviser at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.
He made the call during yesterday's third day of the 49th Annual General Assembly of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
"The media has been reporting basically the big events, the big hurricanes and the massive damage as a result of these," said Trotz. "But they have not been privy to the information about how countries right across the region have been putting in place the institutional arrangements to address climate change, by building capacity and the interventions that have been made to address the problem."
He told The Gleaner that while there have been plenty of talk in the media about climate change and its impact on regional states, there remained a plethora of additional things that the media could do to further spread the message.
NEW DIALOGUE NEEDED
Trotz noted that the climate change centre had done some work in the past with regional media, but bemoaned the lack of what he called "structured dialogue" on the matter that has been brought even more to the fore after the many recent weather events.
"A few years ago, we actually did something on climate change for the media, which basically was to get them familiar with the terminology. But we have had so many events in the region since, and a different argument is now needed to drive home the importance of the phenomena," he argued.
"Apart from that, the media certainly has a very important role to play in getting people sensitised to what their vulnerability is, and why they need to do certain things that the government has asked them to do in safeguarding themselves in relation to this fact," Trotz added.
He said that the earlier interface with the media had only been with reporters and not the owners, reasoning that policy in the boardroom belongs to a different set of players.
"Now, however, we are hoping that through the CBU we will be able to reach into the boardrooms of the media houses in the Caribbean and basically get a commitment for us to work together, as this is important," said Trotz.
Meanwhile, Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid said that he was confident that there existed among the peoples of the region the will and the technical capacity to chant a new way forward in becoming climate-change resilient.