Shocking images, quotes announcing the end of the world, terrifying figures … In the media, the climate issue is mostly approached with sensationalism. If this blanket contributes to the awareness of the general public, it acts differently according to the profiles, causing paralysis, depression or indifference. ” Journalists must absolutely echo the resources available to act,” calls journalist Anne-Sophie Novel.
A polar bear in distress on its ice floe, a piece of forest razed to the ground by bulldozers, a pasture ravaged by drought… these images are regularly featured in the headlines. The latest example: the floods and torrential rains in Canada which turned “cities” into “lakes”. The objective is to challenge a raw and implacable reality: the destruction of the environment. But not all profiles respond in the same way to a “catastrophic picture” on the climate. “For an activist or a person enlightened on the subject, this kind of image will strengthen his vision of the world. For people with little awareness, this type of photo will rather cause indifference or even rejection., explains Mickael Dupré, psychosociologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of French Polynesia (UBF).
An analysis shared by the co-founder of Place To Be, Anne-Sophie Novel, specializing in ecological alternatives. “We all have a different sensitivity whether we are new to the climate subject or an activist. But I would say that this perception changes over time. For my part, at times, catastrophism really made me depressed, but at others, I think it is useful for raising awareness. One thing is certain, only relaying the problems is far from sufficient. Journalists absolutely must echo the resources available to act. “
Talking about the problems of our society is the responsibility of journalists, just like the solutions. This is the vision of solutions journalism, this journalistic movement that arrived in France about fifteen years ago. Among the pioneering French media are Kaizen, We Demain, Socialter, Up Le Mag, PositivR, Carenews, etc. Other more general press titles, such as Nice-Matin, Liberation or the English daily The Guardian, have also done so via sections, newsletters or supplements. “In my work, I have noticed that this information is more and more requested by citizens who, more aware of the ecological issue, increasingly aspire to take concrete action and on their own scale” , comments Anne- Sophie Novel.
An observation from the field which echoes the psychological functioning of human beings according to Mickael Dupré: “People do not do if they do not understand. If journalists make this educational effort on the climate subject, it is a first step. Then, I noticed in my research that the concrete experience, at its scale, in collaboration with other people favored the passage to the action.A journalism which relayed initiatives in the field, close to oneself and carried by people with whom we can identify, appears as a real alternative to media catastrophism. “