As more journalists and organizations begin covering climate change, there is a need for information about how to cover this critical topic from a solutions perspective, according to Covering Climate Now.
The organization, together with the Solutions Journalism Network, recently issued a new cheat sheet that builds on the more in-depth guide it released in January that highlighted the various ways beat reporters across newsrooms can spotlight solutions. Climate change has usually been covered as a problem or challenge and not through a solutions lens.
The guide provides information on covering climate solutions on various beats, including politics and government, economics and business, technologies and practices, civil society and culture.
However, it left off one critical beat: health. While the health beat may not be about solving the overall climate crisis or policy around potential solutions, it does have a clear connection to policy, money and culture.
Sharing information about health risks and climate change needs to be framed as a public health threat and stories should include solutions or actions people can take in response, according to a study published in the Public Health Reviews Journal in 2017.
Stories about climate solutions are “urgent for people who suffer disproportionately from the climate crisis: the poor, people of color, Indigenous people, women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and future generations,” describes the guide from Covering Climate Change.
The effects of climate change are already impacting people’s health, especially those living in vulnerable communities.
“These communities have contributed the least to the pollution that is overheating the planet, yet often bear the brunt of the impacts and have less financial resources to cope,” the guide explains.
Paying attention to climate justice stories can lead to policy change, according the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2022 report.
The climate guide advises journalists to avoid one coverage mistake: instead of focusing on techno-fixes like gadgets and start-ups intent on doing something, focus on policy and money decisions made around climate change.