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I'm surely not the first person to bring this up, but as science journalists, do you think climate change- a very slow, long-term phenomenon- will continue to be in the spotlight in the next 5 years?

If so, will climate change continue to be portrayed in the dramatized way it is now?

Reporting on the effects/ nature of something like climate seem to go against the journalist "it ain't news unless it new" mantra.

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Well, Denise, the next five years will see some very dramatic changes in the earth's existing landscape, going by what I have seen first-hand in some remote parts of my country. Rising sea levels have caused vast tracts to disappear. We cannot reverse this phenomenon; all we can do is ensure that erosion becomes negligible enough so as not to affect communities. Climate change will be in the news if part of its effects is reversed in measurable terms. It is not just that " new" attracts newshounds. It is the remotest parts of the world where the worst is happening due to climate change. In a fast-moving globalized world, newspaper editors do not have the patience to let reporters travel for a couple of days to reach these God-forsaken places and tell readers what is happening there. It is most definitely a question of -out of sight, out of mind- for journalists and their readers.
Denise probably wanted to start a very exciting discussion on this matter.So she might have posted a clever question.Rina replied very nicely with valid reasons to keep the discussion going.But,the discussion could not proceed at all.Now,I want to request Denise to revive the discussion for I believe it's a nice point to discuss upon.
Dr Abedin,

You are right, this is a real and valid question that begs responses.

Ecologists are becoming ever more sensitive to the effects of climatic variation on different time scales, in different environments and biotic systems. They and other researchers are very sensitive to the changes that are happening all around us - whether or not these reflect natural processes, or the consequences of human actions, or both.

The essential message is not that humans are destroying the world (this is unlikely), but that the world is always changing, and this matters more now, to more people, because our population is expanding and pushing at the limits of our systems of production and distribution.

I think science journalists should not focus on the idea of impending disaster but on the more positive possibilities of responding to present disasters -- through more interpretation and better understanding of the meaning or implications of of scientific studies, and other gains in human experience (scientists are not the only people who learn about the world).

There is a huge range of climate related issues (including the research and the social responses) that needs to be explored and talked about. Historical, ecological, anthropological, archaeological, geological, meterological, astronomical, economic and other perspectives are all needed.

I think individual journalists need to develop topic areas in which they can write critically, positively, and with understanding and confidence. This may then engage public interest more strongly. If all journalists attempt to cover all issues, this will impoverish public understanding (I suspect).

A uniformly-pessimistic journalism -- that leads readers to doom and gloom -- definitely has limited appeal, and can add to the problems we face (hello fatalism!).

Yours optimistically (on even-numbered days), Peter
You know something, there are some unexplained phenomena which are affecting us, Denise. A lot of it has yet to be researched on, and studied deeply. Take for instance, the problem of glacial melt. Outside the poles, the Himalayan ranges are known to have the greatest mass of frozen water in the form of ice caps. ICIMOD believes these glacial sources will disappear and put all of South Asia, which includes several countries-Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal in dire straits. We are also suffering from heavy erosion in eastern India. ( Of course, this is being attributed to the building of the Farakka Barrage and heavy siltation) But it could also be due to heavier flow in the Ganges due to glacial melt. Geographers are unsure, and hence unwilling to commit. However, the possibility remains. More glacial melt may also cause severe siltation. This can affect populations too.



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