Adequately Accounting for the Climate Crisis in our Community

CHERYL LYON – The climate emergency is here, right now, in this place “at the end of the rapids” (Peterborough City) and in all the land around it – the three First Nation Communities and the six townships of Peterborough County.

Two other things are also upon us: the Provincial election and Municipal elections in the fall.

How seriously did voters really pay attention to the Climate Crisis in the recent election? Taking it seriously enough as the existential threat that it is? Are local media, including social media, considering how they can become a true force for good in communicating and linking the many intersections of climate action?

Certainly, the unspeakably unjust rain of horror on the people of Ukraine demands our urgent attention, compassion and material aid. This terrible human tragedy will linger a long time in our lives for another reason too: its contribution to the climate crisis.

In today’s world, everyone is connected to everything because we all breathe the same air, bring everyday life necessities into our homes and bodies via international supply lines, and all our lives are threatened without a healthy, biodiverse Earth.

The Greenzine calls upon all local media editors and contributors to ask, every morning, “what is today’s climate crisis story?” Better still, “how is this story connected to the impacts of the climate crisis on our community right here, right now?” Yes, reporting on local happenings (like a homicide, Covid, the opioid crisis or the latest drama at municipal Council) is the role of local media but the greatest catastrophe ever is unfolding around and among us with increasing local impacts. The “tyranny of the moment” in news reporting and analysis should have equal time with the long emergency that is Climate Change.

The war on Ukraine and other military actions around the globe are forerunners of what climate changes will look like – already look like in some places: land made unproductive,economic disruption, human migration, added carbon emissions just at the point when we urgently need to reduce them.

The Greenzine aims to bring light to the local climate change picture by:

  • relating Data (the quantitative) and Storytelling (the qualitative) to local issues. For instance, ten years ago the media were covering the Ontario government’s phase-out of coal. Now, we are focusing on the phase out of ALL fossil fuels for the very survival of the planet.
  • helping to “the local story out” about what happening locally to meet or not meet the goals of climate adaptation and mitigation
  • asking if the climate action “is enough?” and “is it for the right things”?
  • giving voice to the impacts of climate change from many angles, especially those most affected and often left out (youth, women, racialized and under-resourced people)
  • spotlighting Youth, who will inherit the future we create – or don’t create – today
  • reporting on and writing about the cost of not doing things.

We are in the Great Transition occurring everywhere. It calls us to both action and empathy for the hard adjustments everyone will have to make.

We hope to build readers’ trust by assisting them to both understand and feel the climate situation, its implications and solutions locally through the voices and stories of local contributors and editorial writing. We will take sides. We will hold one another accountable. We will connect the local to the global. We will aim to inform and empower readers’ participation in climate solutions. The only way through the climate crisis is together in community.

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