Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Allen: Media must drive climate change dialogue

Published:Friday | August 23, 2019 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Gary Allen, CEO of RJRGLEANER Communications Group, addressing the Rotary Club of Kingston’s luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday.

The catastrophic fires ripping through the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil has drawn attention to how media houses around the globe are dealing with the subject of climate change.

Insisting that climate change is a critical topic on which dialogue must be had, RJRGLEANER Communications Group CEO Gary Allen is questioning the national approach on the issue in relation to the various sectors critical to sustainable development.

Addressing yesterday’s Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, Allen said that local media houses need to develop a more effective approach to shed more light on the global problem.

“If I ask many of us inside this room, we would be very surprised about the answers we get from persons’ perceptions of what climate change is all about. But clearly, this climate change is having an impact, and we need to understand it and try to do something about it,” Allen said.

The veteran media executive noted that in Jamaica’s case, it was prudent that media drives the discussion.

The real challenge in Jamaica, according to Allen, is to get consensus around the issues pertaining to the level of impact of climate change.

“We are kind of just scattershot at the moment. I think that local media need to find a way to bring the conversation to a very specific place. Is it going to be up to whoever is responsible for climate change at the political policy level to say what the climate change focus is. What is it that that person is asking the nation to do? Then we should debate that, agree on the findings, and then go monitoring how these impact the different industries and how we are mitigating against this crisis,” he said.

Allen said that the best the local journalists could do until the national policy is made clear is to draw sustained attention to the matter.

This summer has been particularly hot, with heat waves scorching several countries, especially in Europe. Wildfires have also been raging in several countries, making global warming a more dangerous reality, triggering stunning ice melts and a significant rise in sea levels.

On June 22, Jamaica recorded its hottest day ever when temperatures reached a high of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 39.1 degrees Celsius.