Experts seek media reportage of climate change dynamics
Amid the devastations caused by human interactions on the environment and biodiversity, experts have urged environmental journalists to focus on dissemination of climate change information, risks and mitigation action.
They also advocated the inclusion of environmental concerns in yearly budgets and the spreading of the message of sustainable development to political leaders in the country.
The experts made the call at a one-day workshop organised for journalists by the Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre (REPRC EfD-NIGERIA), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Enugu State.
Leading the discussion, Chairman, REPRC EfD-Nigeria, Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, who spoke on environmental issues in Nigeria and the roles of journalists in dealing with the challenges, explained that an overwhelming proportion of the audiences are not technical experts. He stressed the need for practitioners to communicate clearly and effectively for the people to comprehend environmental impacts, take appropriate preventive and remedial actions.
Oladipo reinforced communicating in a timely way and relating with the audience when climate change information is needed, receptive to hear and act on. He said communicators must make information available for the people to make appropriate decisions.
“Successful communication on environmental challenges need to be tangible, relevant and tailored to the audience, guided by principles relating to accessibility, actionable, credibility, relevance and understandability of information,” he said
He advised stakeholders to toe the path of environmental protection, warning that if a nation’s environmental foundations are depleted, its economy may well decline, social fabrics deteriorated and the political structure may even become destabilised.
He said: “Development will be meaningful if it does not increase a country’s vulnerability to environmental impacts.
The Director, REPRC UNN, Dr. Nnaemeka Chukwuone, said the centre is saddled with the responsibility of conducting research and advocacy on the environment, agriculture, natural resources, climate and related issues as well as facilitating, supporting evidence-based policymaking and implementation.
The director advised the media to expand the scope of reporting environmental issues such as flooding, climate change, pollution, waste management, deforestation and make the reports simple to understand for awareness creation.
He said the effectiveness with which Nigeria’s environmental assets are managed will significantly influence its economic development. According to him, poor management of environmental assets is the bane of national development.
The Web Editor, Environment for Development (EfD), Petra Hanson, who spoke virtually, told participants to explore its unique database of information and knowledge, which are unbiased and based on research/findings of experts. She added that the centre has a team of experts that journalists could consult on environmental issues.
Contributing, a resource person from the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Donald Ugwu, urged journalists to deploy professionalism when supporting stakeholders in mitigating environmental challenges. He said the practitioners must report issues accurately using effective communication strategies to achieve their objectives.
He charged the media to ensure that existing laws are implemented, carry out investigations on all environmental issues and learn to ask relevant questions from experts and other critical stakeholders.