Research and Media Network

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Dear Friends,

I strongly believe that environmental degradation is not a problem cause by environment it self, it’s actually a problem of communications. All issues of environmental failures came up due to lag of communications competencies among human beings instead of technical issues within the parameters of environmental technologies.

In some countries, environmental degradation and sustainable development issues are not considered as first priority within the society. This phenomenon proves that communications plays an important role within both issues. People doesn’t put sustainable development in their first priority not because of they don’t want to have sustainable livelihood, but more as a cause of lag of understanding about the meaning of sustainable development.

Mass media has a strategic position to guarantee the success of communications about sustainable development within a particular society. Unfortunately, not all mass media practitioners are enlightened by the concept of sustainable development. To make it worse, some unethical business practices of the mass media are also marginalized the issues from the editorial board. In Indonesia, this negative influence can be easily found in the form of advertorials and space buying that potential to influence the decision on the agenda setting of the media.

How is the situation in your country?
Will you share some to enlighten us?

Best regards,
Ronny Mustamu

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second your opinion on the issue of lack of understanding and awareness. There is a lot of confusion and misunderstandings around sustainable development that the issue is progressing really slowly. Practitioners should make the language more user-friendly and the press should be more proactive. Afterall our lives depend on it.
Dagma Timmer, who has just joined this Forum will mostly likely agree and might wish to share her experiences with a new TV program that she and her other indomitable family member are running in Canada. They were inspired by a similar view and decided to do something about it. Calestous
I guess the main objective of the media, or any industry for that matter, is to make a profit and see that profit increase every year.

The way I see things, the only way sustainable development issues can grow in importance in such a system is to focus on how sustainable practices can go hand in hand with the long-term business strategies of maximizing profits and minimizing costs all companies aim to achieve. Once this is embraced, sustainability will become the selling point of the company and people will hear a lot more about it from the media source.
Hi everyone

Here's an example from Britain of the way that the editorial and advertisement content of the media diverge with respect to sustainability.

George Monbiot regularly uses his column in The Guardian newspaper to urge immediate action to tackle climate change. He points to hypocrisy among politicians, corporations and consumers but has recently been accused himself of hypocrisy - because his paymasters at The Guardian make money by carrying adverts for companies, products and activities that will lead to an increase in greenhouse-gas emissions.

In his most recent column, he writes: "The World Development Movement kindly offered to conduct a survey for me. I asked it to add up the space given to ads for cars, air travel, holidays requiring air travel and oil companies in the weekday print editions of the five quality dailies, across 10 days in July. The Financial Times carried the fewest such advertisements - a total of 2.75 pages across the 10 days, or 0.8% of its total space. Its weekday editions have fewer ads of all kinds than the other papers (the result might have been different if we had assessed the Saturday papers). The Guardian came next, with some 15.6 pages of fossil fuel ads (2.5%). The Independent carried 24 pages (3.1%); the Telegraph ran 30.5 pages (7.3% of the whole paper), and the Times devoted 42 pages to fossil fuel consumption (4.4%)."

Monbiot then asked each of the papers' editors to say how much these advertisement contributed to their income. Only the Financial Times would answer - 10.4% of the paper's total income.

He argues that if there is a case for banning advertisements for tobacco, then there should be a similar ban on advertisements for products that contribute to environmental degradation.

You can read his full piece here: "The editorials urge us to cut emissions, but the ads tell a very di...",,2148255,00.html

I think that as people start taking advantage of the varied streams of information that exist on the internet it will be increasingly the case that credible and popular sources of information emerge that are independent of the traditional media - and less in need of revenue-generation on the scale of a daily newspaper.

In fact many good sources of information on the environmental challenges we face already exist, without the presence alongside of adverts that counteract any 'pro-environment' messages in the stories. I really rate Rhett Butler's Mongabay news website, for instance, as it summarises published research, often with interviews with the researchers. Rhett has his finger on the pulse of biodiversity research so I check his site every day. He is a member of this network - his profile page is here.

The root of the problem though, as Denise says, is that companies exist to make money this year, and more next year. That economic growth paradigm ignores the key thing that we are talking about, as it takes no account of natural capital. For the media, efforts to put a price tag on the environment will be a big economics story in the coming years. It will be interesting to see how it gets covered by economics or environment reporters.

I think we need to create awareness to the mass media industry about their role in development.

See more discussions on communication for development at
Calestous mentioned Dagmar above. I am Dagmar Timmer's sister, Vanessa and we have indeed been part of a sustainable development communication exercise. We are co-hosting a TV show called "The Sustainable Region" which broadcasts on Shaw cable to the residents of the Greater Vancouver region in British Columbia Canada. You can find and download the episodes here:
It is very important to have such programs widely broadcast in developing parts as well so that there is awareness and pressure on all stakeholders to go ecofriendly and promote sustainability at all stages ,whether it be industry or consumer or citizen or legislator. Developing world that aspires to higher living standards will naturally consume more energy and intensity of use need to come down in the near future from point of view of energy availability,cost and security. Hence there is a need to promote such awareness creation cam paigns in here such that greater awareness leads to greater action aimed at ecosolutions.
It is important that law and policy makers of the country make such legislation and protocols to ensure that business is benefitted even in the shorter run by becoming focussed on sustainable development and resource use. Recent US Supreme court verdict on declaring GHG as pollutants so that EPA can take action based on current rules is a case in point.Similarly concerted public opinion can favour products from eco-friendly firms over others and this can really help .This is slowly happening even in countries like India, where there is a premium on organic farm produce and green building designs that save on energy bill as well as resources.There is bound to be greater interest in ecosolutions if it favours and materially or financially benefit the practitioner ,naturally. Media does play a major role in this, through awareness creation.
Am here to affirm that the lack of genuine communication has resulted into some untold and preventaable local,national and international problems.Even when communication is made, the technical elements in the content make understanding difficuty.But as communication experts, we must continue to find ways to make meaningful imputs into these communication processes and avenues.We just could reverse the evident societal,environmental and political ills.
I fully endorse the views of Swati-Gone are the days when journalism was a mission ,nowadays it has just become a business aiming to capitalize on more and more money and power .Blame the trend to market forces is an easy justification ! A dismal scenario indeed !
Hi Ronny,
we are specialised in events that reach out to the non-believers.
I guess you've already heard of one of the events: Earthrace, the most inspiring and spectacular CO2-neutral event... maybe it is an opportunity to collaborate, because we have more of such projects... it may be worthwile to give a ring to some of the media and companies in your neighbourhood if they already profit from the "Kyoto Protocol" and if it would not be interesting to organise an event to announce the changes in their strategies and to communicate this to potential partners since we live now in a Carbon Friendly Economy since 2005- the beginning of the Kyoto Protocol.

Everybody and any business is affected: companies in the West could set-up joint ventures with companies in developing countries to jointly develop CO2-reducing projects for companies and governments in the West that need the CO2-certificates. The UNFCCC confirmed 2007, the trading in the CO2e-certificates was over 40 billion €, the underlying assets producing the CO2e-certificates is of course a multi-fold. According to “Potential of Carbon Market “ – UNFCCC: “…from 2000 through 2050 are between 1995 USD 1.2 and 14.9 trillion – annualized … USD 72–775 billion”.

Earthrace is an eco-friendly biopowered trimaran-powerracer, capable of submarining and using the energy of the Oceanwaves like dolphins...
Earthrace is considered to be one of the most inspiring carbon friendly events out there, having featured in over 100 TV-stations and getting over 50.000 hits daily on its website. Inspiring young and old, loved by coporations and the public sector alike, once for its power, the other time for the number of people it reaches, but always because of the messages it sends out: living and eco-lifestyle is 100% exciting and turning the planet in a sustainable planet and being part of that ... is awesome !

Whatch her on this 1 minute videoclip on the most inspiring and spectacular CO2 neutral project-event today:

Send this videoclip around to the press... it will attract them like bees-to-honey to your event and find it so inspiring they'll give you the time afterwards to listen to your story.

Projecting the high res video is a real booster to kick-off any conference. We can even have someone from our groundcrew come over.

Skype: SvenAERTS
Tel +32 2 290 28 19
FIX : +32.2.787.67.21
Gsm +32 487 580 265




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