The Discovery Channel isn’t a climate change denier, but it’s certainly shaping up to be an equally formidable foe — a climate change avoider.
Media outlets and activists are lambasting the network for failing to adequately address climate change in its recent series, Frozen Planet. The seven-part series, which was jointly produced with the BBC, explores life in the North and South poles. The series’ final episode, “On Thin Ice,” depicts how decreasing ice cover impacts polar habitat and wildlife, but fails to acknowledge the fact that human activities are spurring global warming.
Strangely missing from the narration, however, is any mention of the causes of climate change, even presented as theory. An April 20 story in the New York Times revealed that the producers made a deliberate choice not to present this material, anticipating criticism from the small minority of viewers who do not accept scientific opinion about human causes of global warming.
Series producer Vanessa Berlowitz told the New York Times that including the scientific theories “would have undermined the strength of an objective documentary, and would then have become utilized by people with political agendas.”
And this isn’t the first time the network has been accused of dodging climate change coverage. According to media reports, Discovery initially planned not to air Frozen Planet’s seventh episode, due to a “scheduling conflict.” The network later changed its tune and said it would air the climate change episode.
Discovery may think it’s being diplomatic here, but the network exists to cover science and nature. It’s understandable that critics view the network’s total lack of coverage of climate change’s causes as, well, a GIANT, gaping oversight.
One organization, Forecast the Facts, recently launched a campaign urging Discovery to acknowledge the scientific consensus on human-made global warming. You can sign the group’s online petition here.