Following up on our series about climate change in pop culture (read part 1 about young adult novels here), we would like to present you some examples of pop songs from different musical genres dealing with the topic of climate change. There are many reasons for science to take popular culture seriously – one of them being that pop culture can be seen as a “battlefield” where scientific knowledge and attitudes are presented and disputed. If science disregards this field, it is left for pseudo-scientific actors, fundamentalists and figures with vested interests who use pop culture as a way to spread their view on scientific topics such as climate change (see also Allgaier 2017). Continue reading Climate Change in Pop Culture – Part 2: Pop Songs
The dramatic reduction in flights during the COVID-19 pandemic opens a natural opportunity for us to consider: what role does the aviation industry have to play in tackling the climate crisis?
Before the pandemic, it seemed unthinkable: a 70 percent drop in flights worldwide? Yet this is exactly what happened in May 2020. The dramatic changes seen in our lifestyles since the beginning of 2020 disposes of the idea that radical change is not possible. Under the right pressure, industry, governments and individuals seem to adapt their priorities to comply with external conditions. Climate change – as COVID-19 – is a global crisis. There can, and will, be radically different lifestyles which we adopt in response to this externality.
Germany’s Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) just released a report showing that in 2020 the amount of meat produced in the country dropped by four percent. Conversely, production of meat substitutes rose by 39% . With record numbers signing up to Veganuary this year, the controversy around veganism seems to be diminishing. The question is, is going vegan really good for the climate?
500,000 people participated in the global campaign Veganuary which encourages people to commit to a month of veganism in January . The number of vegans in Britain has quadrupled in 5 years to 600,000 according to the vegan society, whereas in Germany the figure has reached over 2 million. Far from being the fringe lifestyle choice of a few hippies, more and more people are turning to veganism for a wide range of reasons related to health, morality, or climate protection. Continue reading Veganism – solving the climate issue?
How did Israeli television news communicate the pandemic in early 2020? In one word: Panic. If anything, I think that news should not make us anxious. Particularly in times of crisis, news should inform us, so that we can decide how to act.
Since its foundation, Israel has been entangled in a constant state of emergency (The Knesset), due to a “protracted conflict”, which evidently influences the news media’s conduct (Peri 2012, p.21) as well as its audiences. Even though the public shows low trust in the media (Mida blog, 2018), Israelis are quite ‘obsessive’ to hard news (Peri 2012, p. 20). Looking at the initial Covid-19 outbreak as communicated in the mass media, the event significantly lured television audiences: in the first Corona months, television news ratings skyrocketed to roughly 30% viewers (in particular in March 2020). Considering the numerous viewers during this health and socioeconomic crisis, I have been examining how Israeli televised news communicated the pandemic in early 2020.
In a recent blogpost, I argued that climate policy should be seen and treated as something fundamentally different from environmental policy. However, I am not sure I entirely convinced even myself. Therefore, I’d like to use this piece to take the opposite stance, by arguing that climate and environmental problems should be confronted together.
It is true that the main cause of climate change consists of burning fossil fuels, suggesting a focus on economic solutions relating to energy use. However, it is also true that the effects of climate change present themselves as environmental problems – ranging from storms and droughts to the extinction of species and the loss of entire ecosystems.
After the outstanding year 2019, attention for climate change on Twitter in the past year quickly dropped to the level from the years 2018 and before. The harsh decline directly coincides with the rising worldwide attention for the “new” Corona virus later named Covid19, which caused the global pandemic the world is still struggling with. This looks like a prime example for the “Crowding-Out Effect”: Environmental topics tend to be pushed out of media reporting and public attention in times of crisis (Djerf-Pierre 2012).
Nevertheless, climate change punctually received high attention on Twitter. In the first months of 2020, the topic was still as high on the agenda as in the end of 2019, with natural and political events triggering peaks of attention.
*The Online Media Monitor on Climate Change Coverage (short form: OMM) collects tweets related to climate change if they contain at least one of the search strings #climatechange OR “climate change” OR “global warming” OR Klimawandel and receives at least 5 retweets. Read the OMM Guide to get more details about the methods and take a look at the error log file to get information about server problems.Continue reading 2020 on Twitter – Was there a topic besides Covid19?
Documentaries are one way of presenting the problems climate change poses, but also possibilities for a better future, to a broad audience. In this video, our team member Shorouk Elkobros, now Science Communication Consultant at the European Science Foundation, compares the approach and framing of different climate documentaries. Have fun watching it – but be warned, you might want to watch some or all of the documentaries mentioned afterwards!
The video summarizes the results from Shorouk’s Master’s thesis in Integrated Climate System Sciences at the University of Hamburg, titled “Multimodal framing of climate change-related future scenarios in documentaries”.
Climate change is receiving more and more attention. While the topic has traditionally been seen as an environmental issue, it is now increasingly reaching beyond and detaching from the sphere of classical environmental policy. In this piece, I will argue that this is a good thing.
The environmental movement has been around for half a century now, at least in many parts of the world. While it has had many successes, it is still a minority in society. At the same time, ambitious climate action is required to happen within this decade, if we want to fulfil the Paris Agreement. In order to instigate political action now, it is necessary to build coalitions that amount to societal majorities, thereby reaching far beyond environmentalist circles.
The climate question is all about the limits. Carbon budgets, tipping points, ticking clocks and planetary boundaries are just some buzzwords flying around in talks about a menacingly waltzing climate change. This has always been a problem, as the main goal of most countries is economic growth: unlimitedness of a social system meets planetary limits.
From limits to growth to the birth of Green Growth
This dilemma was noticed as early as 1972. The Club of Rome report “Limits to Growth” marked the beginning of thinking that there could be inherent limits to the ways carbon-dependent societies are functioning. But already with the political neo-liberal climate of the 1980s and 1990s, the notion of “limits to growth” vanished from public discourse. The idea of a Green Growth was born, arguing there could be both: economic growth AND environmental protection.
“Act Responsibly Even when You Don’t.” Next to this ambiguous slogan, two young models in jeans are lolling about, promoting Diesel’s Green Label, the brands’ sustainable line. And this is what follows: “Go crazy and at the same time treat the planet with our responsible pieces from the Fall Winter 2020 collection”. Sustainability and shopping the new arrivals of each and every season – how “consciously” and “responsibly” sourced they may be – does that match? On another rather urgent note: I still needed Christmas presents when I read this.
Googling “sustainable gifts” will return all sorts of attractive results that labels have not only given the Christmas coat of paint, but also a supposedly green one. And in 2020, sustainability as an incentive to buy has had other suits made to measure. There is the #supportyourlocals hashtag, with which online retailers such as Amazon and Zalando are luring me to buy, buy, buy and feel good about it. It’s Christmas after all and everyone should share a piece of the cake. Continue reading Greenwashing’s new distant cousin