The media plays a key role in educating people about what is happening around the world, particularly in places where people do not have direct awareness or experience (Happer and Philo 2013). The first 20 years of the 21st century experienced significant misuse of natural resources that led to multiple disputes between humans and the ecosystem, inadequate protection of the environment, and unsustainable growth. Environmental awareness and knowledge have been advocated as one effective way to resolve these disputes (Ogunjinmni, Onadeko, and Ogunjinmi 2015). In addition to pushing society to sustainability, addressing today's environmental challenges cannot be left to environmental experts alone. The tremendous encouragement and diverse presence of a trained and knowledgeable person are also highly required. Consequently, through its role in raising awareness of problems that obstruct environmental protection and allow modifications in human attitudes regarding environmental matters, the media has a significant footprint in the international conservation of biodiversity (Grantmakers’ Network 2016). The essay aims to examine the role of media in shaping attitudes towards the natural environment. The essay will cover the media’s power, reporting, role, reach, efficiency, coverage, focus and impacts in terms of natural environment.
The focus of Environmental media outlets is on disasters or issues instead of concentrating on mechanisms for problem-solving. The recent trend of TRPs and sensationalisation has taken over the reporting of real issues. The magnitude of environmental reporting and newspaper reports remains below average and the relentless focus of the media on sensationalism and conflicts must be changed (Kiplimo and Obiri 2015). However, it is wise to note that the mainstream media can nevertheless show absolute efficacy in educating people about the need to conserve their environment, considering the aforementioned critique. Conversely, the media should also be used by conservation groups to disseminate important information to the public that can help transform their harmful environmental habits, perceptions and decisions (Kiplimo and Obiri 2015). If the people are not informed and are unaware then they may fail to participate and protect any sustainability of the environment (Kiplimo and Obiri 2015). The media also has certain powers to broadcast various policies.
The media has the power to disseminate a wide variety of policies of the environment by presenting them to the public and also helping them understand the strategies (Boykoff 2009). However, it is unfortunate that the biggest impacts on the wellbeing and health of people are also associated with environmental degradation. Among several other practices, the effects of environmental degradation as identified include a rise in population, climate change, wasteful farming activities, and global warming. An enormous rise in the poverty rate, devastating environmental conditions, drought, and an uncertain international situation are the consequences. Hence the public needs to be informed by the media on the significance of protecting their ecosystem to discourage such accidents from happening (Donohoe 2003). It is presumed that the media reports on particular environmental issues.
The media would report as anticipated on specific environmental factors to achieve environmental preservation and sustainability. The media should have clear reporting on environmental problems to preserve it, especially whenever there is an environmental catastrophe (Lodhia 2004). Biodiversity protection and conservation concerns have begun to gain importance and therefore hold a chance of obtaining coverage of media. By the way, the media attention of these environmental protection projects continues to draw national interest today, except that in the 1990s, where a broad range could be provided to the same activities (Sherpa 2011). The media also spreads serious information related to challenges of the environment.
The primary role of the media is to transmit critical information that tackles environmental problems that are fundamentally important to decision-makers (CEPF 2004). The media must teach and inform its viewers, and through these media outlets, several people can access government records. To make sure that the campaigns reach the wider populace through the media, it is prudent for environmental groups to have friendly relations with the media (Hesselink et al. 2007). The reach out of media to the public creates a significant impact on the environment.
Arguably, with its ability to reach out to decision-makers and opinion holders in the public at large, the media is impactful in implementing environmental preservation policies. For example, urban opinion leader’s preference is to read newspapers and watch TV, while in rural areas opinion leaders listen to national or local radio stations (Kiplimo and Obiri 2015). In implementing a major adjustment in community, interaction, training, and awareness of the public are deemed vital. The role of the media is significant as elected authorities and other politicians can be made responsible for any decision-making processes related to the environment. The media has the authority to receive details from the planning records of the country, local environmental news, and emissions accounts (Kiplimo and Obiri 2015). The media’s efficiency is reflected when it ensures that the public is safeguarding the environment.
The media then becomes more efficient by making sure that people protect their environment by presenting a credible environmental report and welcoming the people for policy dialogue. Also, the media guarantee the thorough dissemination of sustainability reports to its viewers, thus accelerating the much-awaited positive environmental conservation action. Ideally, evidence on the need to protect the environment is at the centre of every environmental achievement (Kiplimo and Obiri 2015). The media executes aggressive advertising and campaigns related to justifiable growth to promote social progress. The selection of a target market and then customizing the message to reach that particular audience is one of the proposed tactics. Media is important in the adoption and reinforcement of environmental messages aimed at increasing awareness of conservation concerns in the public as a whole (Kiplimo and Obiri 2015). Climate change news media representations have profoundly affected individual and international attempts to address it through news output, usage of media content, and personal participation (Chen 2012). The media’s coverage is not restricted to few areas but it covers numerous news from various fields.
Media covers from entertainment to news, from conventional or mainstream media such as tv, films, newspapers radio, and magazines and modern media like the Internet, social media in general, and Web 2.0 (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). Traditional media rely on one-to-many interactions which are often referred to as "mass media," while many-to-many, more collaborative, networking networks are included with modern or social media. Since the 1990s, the transition from conventional to digital media has signalled major shifts. It covers how users experience and engage with content, who have exposure to it, and who are deemed "authorized" definers of the different facets of environmental problems (e.g. individuals with more authority and power than others) (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). Media player efforts are significant.
In all media, for various modes of usage, players such as journalists, editors, publishers & content creators like bloggers create, translate, and transmit pictures, data, and narratives. Therefore, these "internet interpretations" are important contributions to what is becoming a national debate on the environmental concerns of today (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). For example, climate change, as a heavily political media subject, shows how the national discourse on climate change is deeply dominated by (powerful) forces with various political agendas, viewpoints, or financial interests. The latest research on the reporting of climate change in the world media and also on climate dialogue and the interconnectedness of media, politics, and popular opinion show that media interests are associated with popular interests in climate change understanding and policy consequences (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). The media has thereby shaped a variety of structures across a network of connexions, from systematic environmental policies to implicit notions of the popular perception of the environment (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). Media bias is affected by the authorities’ order.
Authority order bias often affects media analysis, where reporters appear to focus more strongly on credible, valid, and official information (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). While these authorities move in to restore law and order in some situations, they help to raise political concern on other occasions. Media campaigns strive to increase the perception of complicated and dynamic relationships between individuals and the environment, like climate change (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). The encounters’ attributes run against the media’s expectation.
The attributes of such encounters, nevertheless, frequently run counter to journalistic expectations and principles, such as customization or uniqueness. As a consequence, ambiguous and decontextualized news perplexes environmental concerns instead of affirms awareness and involvement. Andrew Revkin, a New York Times columnist, has defined to news lacking context as "whiplash journalism." Context tends to root out marginalized perspectives on diverse facets of environmental problems from counter-arguments worthy of discussion (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). Environmental communication and media are positioned in cultural policy.
Media and environmental communications are usefully placed in a larger cultural policy of the environment, from mechanisms to consequences (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). Cultural politics refers to processes that include the creation and negotiation of context through space and place. This encompasses not only the reporting and messages found in media conversations but moreover those which are missing. These debates then form how representatives of the people at the human-environment exchange and interpret future behaviour and societal behaviours. In other terms, media representation impacts the understanding and debate of the environment and how the audience then considers environmental challenges, from preparations of what "problems" are to perceptions of probable, practicable, or acceptable ways of alleviating problems (occasionally alluded to as "remedies") (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016).
Whereas the key premise of democratic news output is that media organizations have surveillance on the government, it has been claimed that company-controlled media has behaved in an organized manner in the interest of the power of the state in action (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016). Journalists also lack the ability and expertise to address the nuances of environmental science, policies, and government, as well as access to resources relevant to the climate that are accurate, concise, and comprehensible. The propensity to personalize reports suggests that coverage focuses on particular claim-makers and reports that are sensationalized, frequently subsuming broader systemic or hierarchical observations. This applies to dramatization, where, instead of reporting the ground-level changes, coverage of sensational events appears to underplay a more detailed study of the enduring concerns. Newness is relevant. To convert an incident into a report, journalists usually state the need for a new "reporting hook". In the sense of ongoing narratives and historicized or pre-established conventions and stresses, these "new" things are usually creative ways of representing or presenting already things that exist. In parallel, hype, characters, and entertainment journalism valuations can tend to trivialize media content, since it can contribute to the filtering out of reporting that doesn't even have an instant sense of suspense or uproar. Trying to pursue these requirements, nevertheless, is not inherently related to decreased coverage. Hurricane Sandy, which hit the East Coast in late October 2012, is an example of a dramatic, personalized, and creative occurrence that created considerable news attention. Amid scientific confusion about the connexion between the strength of hurricanes and global climate change, the incident nevertheless stimulated dispute and discussion discourse, and political groups and reporters pointed out that more needs to be done in respect to catastrophe risk control, mitigation of climate, and ability to adapt (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016).
In short, media activities mould and negotiate context powerfully, shaping how people make sense of the environment and appreciate it. In this way, media images connect diverse ways of interpreting the world and also mediate societal opinions, perceptions, viewpoints, and actions relevant to environmental problems. This will have far-reaching implications in terms of current scientific studies on the climate as well as attitudes, awareness, and future decision-making of policymakers. At about the same period, media depictions are influenced by conceptual frameworks, reporting standards, and social practices that are inseparably related to one another in the media economy. Moving ahead, the greater integration between conventional and online media implies that in periods between digital chaos, one can reconsider how or if media should even be viewed as the government watchdog. As a news topic, climate change so far has clearly shown how polarising viewpoints from conventional media, and also from digital media outside professional journalism, impact popular sentiment and the agenda of the issue. Consequently, understanding and evaluating potential positions that different claim-makers have in the development, preservation, or attempting to silence conversations of environmental problems would become more crucial for geographical analysis (Luedecke and Boykoff 2016).
In light of the above, it can be concluded that media has played a significant role in shaping a viewpoint of the public on the natural environment and it shall continue to do so as the conservation of the environment is the conservation of not just the humans but all the life forces in the world. The environment has become a very sensitive issue due to recent issues popping daily which needs proper attention to be addressed. The role of media is significant in addressing issues of the natural environment and as the recent trend of TRPs and sensationalisation has taken over the reporting of real issues, extensive reporting related to all the aspects of the natural environment shall be reported and media shall tend to play its role profoundly by neither trivializing the issues nor exaggerating the issues. Till now, if one looks in totality media has acted maturely on the issues of the environment and has created the correct attitude of the public towards it but more development of sensitivity is required in the minds of the people.
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