Global warming is not a scientific story
I’m a little late getting to this, but everyone should read Paul D. Thacker’s interview with New York Times climate journalist Andy Revkin. There’s one point in particular I want to comment on:
Has there been anything in your coverage that you think you’ve missed?
AR: Well … I think there are ways I could have pushed to get the coverage outside the science section. There were some pretty great pieces on things like the Greenland puzzle and the whole abruptness issue, but those were always Science Times pieces and I guess that is a ghetto, ultimately. A bunch of readers won’t get to see it.
This has been a failing not only of climate journalists, but of environmentalists and politicians as well.
Global warming is not a scientific story.
It’s a spiritual story, about our relationship to the earth. It’s a moral story, about our obligations to our descendents. It’s a cultural story, about our consumerism and excess. It’s a political story, about wealthy industries holding our democracy hostage. It’s an economic story, about the transition to a kind of wealth that does not require waste. It’s a sociological and psychological story, about the difficulty of mobilizing vast change in response to long-term challenges. And it’s a personal story, about the ways we as individuals can contribute.
Science is not the story, it’s the substrate. Science merely establishes that there is a story.
All of us — climate journalists, environmental advocates, and everyone else — need to start telling all of these stories, the whole dizzying, overwhelming, galvanizing array of them.