The Online Media Monitor will be composed of different modules. We are still working on the other modules, especially the tool for analyzing online news media.
“How can contemporary image makers promote new thinking and make a difference in the world?” (Fred Ritchin, Bending the frame)
Since the first day in my photo journalism class, taught by Sarah Schorr at Aarhus University, Ritchin’s quote has not lost its grip on me. How can a single photo in today’s digital media flow, still contribute towards making a change? How can one create meaningful content through a photo project?
Questions, which constantly floated in my head. Thoughts permanently popped up and disappeared again.
As the United Nations climate conference in Paris came closer, and the related viral campaign #EarthToParis grew, the idea arose in class to contribute with a photo project which would raise awareness of climate issues. The results of the conference will set the course for our future and how we are going to live life on earth for the coming decades, but COP21 leaders don’t pull the strings with their hands alone. My hope is, that everyone can play their part and that even a single photo can become a catalyst for a shift in people’s mentality.
“Your favorite spot, your earth to Paris”
The final aim of my project was to make people think about their individual connection to the environment, as well as their personal association to the transience of nature. Therefore, I called for a blended picture, which combines a favorite spot or a momentous landscape with a self-portrait. Two elements of the planet – humans and nature – melted together to form a photograph in the style of a “double exposure”.
After spreading the word through an international network, the photo collection now consists of more than 40 pictures from 15 different countries, including landscapes from Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Denmark, France, Iran, Norway and Sweden. People from various nations participated with individual motives, but a united message: They don’t want to lose their favorite spots on earth.
The selection shown here, presents the variety of natural elements and their irreplaceable value, literally seen through the eyes of the participants. They all give us insight into their individual perception of nature, as well as shedding light onto what might inspire others to sharpen their view and turn their gaze to Paris.
The Paris climate protests on Sunday 30 November were largely silent. After the 13 November terror attacks and the state of emergency introduced by President Hollande, demonstrations are banned.
At Place de la République, where the monument is still surrounded by messages of grief and the scent of roses, activists gathered in the morning. Several thousand pairs of shoes were placed to draw attention to the ban on demonstrations. A few hours later, some people tried to march, but were stopped by a massive contingent of police who barred all the roads exiting the place.
A few kilometers away, at Bataclan, where «Eagles of Black Metal» posters still hang promoting the “next performing artists”, representatives of indigenous and small island states gathered in the mass of candles and flowers to show their compassion. From there they joined the long human chain which snaked its way from Nation to République.
Not two degrees, 1.5!
One of the participants at Bataclan was the poet Kathy Jetnil Kijiner from the Marshall Islands. This island state with 71 000 citizens has sent forty representatives to the COP to fight for the 1,5 degree target, which might secure the survival of itself and other island states. In her blog Kijner writes about a CNN reporter who asked her to write a poem about the two degree target. She accepted, but changed the target to 1.5, since two degrees warming would mean the end for many of the island states in the Pacific and elsewhere. The Marshall islands experienced a major flood in 2008, which caused extensive damages in the capital Majuro. Unfortunately, natural disaster again struck in 2013 when they were hit by a serious drought which caused a precarious water shortage.
Among wreaths and numerous messages for the victims from November 13th at Bataclan, Kijiner expresses her hopes that more people will listen this time, when island state leaders speak. She is an official delegate at the conference. For the second time this year she has crossed continents to speak about the vulnerable situation of her home country. The first time she was invited to speak was at the UN summit in September. There, she recited a poem she had written for her 21 month old daughter. Unfortunately Obama arrived too late, but a large number of state leaders were present.
A question that remains for people like Kijiner is “Will activists from island states find support for the 1,5 degree target?”
“Well, the alliance between islanders and indigenous people of the world is strengthened. And after the last elections in Canada, we have received support from prime minister Trudeau. President Obama has also given some positive signals, but the congress is not very supportive,” Kijiner said.
The Marshall islands have recently encountered much more extreme weather than they had in previous years. According to Kijiner they even lost one island, Ellakan. This island used to be a place where people would go to gather fruit and other products but had “died” during the last ten years. More islands could die in a country where large areas, including the capital, are less than four feet above sea level.
“Just before I left I met with women organizing a chicken barbecue, to raise funds for their sea wall, which had been destroyed. Such ruining of protective walls happen more frequently than before,” she said.
What does climate justice mean for you? Some G77-states, such as India, have argued that historical justice implies that the ones who have contributed the most to global warming should have to contribute more than the rest.
“We have friends in India who think differently. The historical responsibility is important, but not decisive. In our alliance now, we think that all states have to act to save the climate.”
The manifestation at Bataclan is silent and respectful. Kijiner says that the French grief is also theirs to share.
“Lives were lost here, lives are lost at our islands, in a sense, all of our struggles are connected. And when we stand together, we emphasize this connection.”
”At home people do their share to save the climate. Many of our islands are solar powered. We try to promote cycling instead of driving, and we work for a cleaner sea transportation.”
The Marshall islands have a special relation to the U.S, going back to the nuclear testing at the Bikini atoll in the 1940s and 1950s. The country is independent, but has a friendly association with the U.S.
With the current threats to their livelihoods, do many Marshall Islanders think of leaving?
“Some do, but our mentality is rather that we should not need to evacuate. We still think it is possible to avoid this”, says Kathy Kininer.
In our Media Watch Blog we present an analytical view of the media coverage and public debates concerned with the UN-Climate Change Conference in Paris* (November 30th – December 11th 2015) through the lens of academic observers from social and climate sciences. We focus on the coverage of the conference in leading media outlets in 40 countries around the globe but we will also provide some first-hand observations from students and researchers who participate in the conference. The blog is hosted by the team of Prof. Brüggemann at the University of Hamburg, but its authors are climate researchers and social scientists from a range of different backgrounds united by an interest in the interdisciplinary study of climate change.
The point of the blog is not to bash the media: Covering climate change is a demanding challenge for journalists and we do not pretend that we could provide better coverage than journalists do. Yet, as outsiders and interested followers of the media debate, we hope to add new perspectives and voices to a debate that deserves humanities’ fullest attention.
The language of the blog entries is English in order to allow an international audience and international contributors to participate. All blog entries represent the personal opinions and observations of the respective blog author and are neither official statements issued by the University of Hamburg, nor from the hosts of the blog.
The blog will start at November 29th.
*the entire name is United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 21st Conference of the Parties, kurz COP 21
In unserem Media Watch Blog wollen wir die öffentliche Debatte zur UN-Klimakonferenz in Paris* (30. November bis 11. Dezember 2015) analytisch begleiten und aus der Sicht interdisziplinärer Klimaforschung kommentieren. Das Blog ist auf Englisch um einem internationalen Publikum zugänglich zu sein und wird am 29. November starten.
*ihr vollständiger Name ist United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 21st Conference of the Parties, kurz COP 21
Since the official start of our CliSAP idea contest project in April, the CRG ‘Media Constructions of Climate Change’ has reached many important interim goals. A sample of online news media was assembled, currently covering 23 countries worldwide. It includes well-known media outlets like the American and international edition of the New York Times (USA), but also titles such as Jakarta Globe (Indonesia), Excelsior (Mexico) or Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) – in total there are currently 42 media outlets included. Important criteria for the selection of the media were (1) the coverage, (2) the daily publication and (3) the national / supra-regional importance of reporting. The media sample is supplemented by an analysis of the climate discourses on Twitter.
Since July, ICDC has started the technical implementation of the tools. The online media monitor (OMM) is supposed to automatically store, analyze, aggregate, and visualize data obtained from global climate media reports, with results visible and usable for everyone. For this purpose, a program is currently being developed that extracts articles based on RSS feeds and exports them to a database. Afterwards, the implementation and visualization of the data analysis will be carried out. In the last phase of the project, automated content analysis functionality will be added to the tools in order to detect, for example, subjects or actors (such as countries, organizations, or particular scientists), and to visualize their activities.
CliSAP researchers at CEN shall be provided with the opportunity for further analysis of the data from the media monitor.