Written by D, a, m, i, e, n, , C, a, v, e, t
Analysis by Ned Bastian
Australia is in the news almost daily as the world’s 22nd largest carbon emitter.
A big but unusual focus of coverage is the Country Hour’s special investigation into Climate Change. We have become a lightning rod for people. From the one woman who called in after we featured our 24 days in red pigtails video to a man who described himself as “one of those people on a Facebook group called the Climate Deniers,” all have had one thing in common: they all believe climate change isn’t happening.
A spokesperson for the government has suggested that people who do believe in climate change shouldn’t be brought on as journalists. I strongly disagree. Reporting on climate change is vital as it is a direct call to action on the imperative to reduce carbon emissions.
However we recognize that we are only the final leg of the climate change presentation. Climate change is very complex and the actual impact is not yet clear.
The minute you finish your piece on climate change, you are left stranded. You are left without information as to whether the message has been effective.
The verdict on whether or not you did your job comes down to the following simple test: are you more motivated to participate in a movement to reduce carbon emissions today than if you hadn’t done your piece on climate change?
If so, you’ve done your job. And if not, your story was a disservice to the cause.
With these thoughts in mind, we embarked on an entirely new approach to exploring the most pressing issue of our time.
Before Climate Town Hall, we spent 18 months planning. Then we spent a further four months researching. After that, we set up an operation in Australia to get the stories out.
Today, one of the most powerful mediums of communication on Earth is now enabling people to come together and debate one of the most important issues facing the world, right here, right now.
This election season, we invited ordinary Australians to make their case directly to the government and each other.
Our #AustraliaNow campaign gathered over 37,000 people online and 7,000 in person (with over 400 claiming a meal and a beer in exchange for a public appearance).
The public forum was not a magic bullet or panacea to solving the climate change crisis. But it did foster real, honest and open debates across all political parties and all sections of society.
Today’s final day is the way to close the gap on the wildly divergent views that exist in Australia. This is how ordinary Australians can contribute to the national conversation.