Media tends to paint doomsday-like scenario when addressing environmental issues

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Washington, July 9 (ANI): A new study has determined that the media tends to paint a doomsday-like scenario when addressing environmental issues.

This study, undertaken by researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UBC), analyses the role played by the media in creating and spreading a stance regarding the protection of the environment, sustainable development and natural heritage.

It proposes and performs an analysis of the dialectic strategies used by the daily press to treat environmental information.

The research team studied the information published in connection with the environmental summit held in Bali in 2007.

Apart from this analysis, the researchers complemented this information with a survey carried out in Urdaibai, the Basque Country.

According to Jose Ignacio Lorente, a lecturer at the UBC, the conclusions of this study suggest that "the media make an active contribution to tackling the complexity of the sustainability crisis of the current model of development, by confining their interpretation to environmental problems, but also fail to consider the social, economic and cultural aspects of a production system based on growth and the massive exploitation of natural resources".

The results of the study indicate that the news agenda that the media developed regarding the Summit in Bali focused on scientific evidence of the global dimensions of climate change, the fact that its potentially devastating effects could be immediate and its anthropogenic nature.

However, according to the researchers, this agenda "avoided addressing the real reasons behind the political argument in detail, by means of a narrative strategy in which dramatising conflicts, threats and delays regarding CO2 quotas prevailed," becoming the top priority for the Bali Summit.

However, Lorente added, "the emphasis the media placed on scientific evidence regarding the human nature of the causes for climate change was not linked to citizens' sphere of activity, despite fact that their everyday decisions and behaviour - transport, energy saving, recycling - account for 20 percent of the problem".

According to the research by the UBC, alarmist and catastrophist news focusing on the risk of natural disasters and the urgency of political and economic action "places the emphasis on the heroic efforts of abstract and distant individuals whose motives are not always clear".

This approach, they said, appears to lack references to or be based on citizen's everyday life. (ANI)

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