Activists struggle with climate message

2012-10-22 11:13
The WWF used this balloon at the Rio climate conference to get their message across. (WWF)

The WWF used this balloon at the Rio climate conference to get their message across. (WWF)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Environmental organisations find it difficult to convince ordinary people of the reality of climate change, despite a noticeable increase in extreme weather events.

"There is no question that one of the challenges of dealing with an issue like climate change is that it is a bit more abstract, a bit more remote in time and space than an urban air pollution problem or a water pollution issue," James Leape, director general of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) told News24.

The WWF and several organisations have been campaigning for concrete action environmental affairs for decades and despite their efforts, there is rising scepticism of climate change, particularly in the US, where several politicians have questioned the science.

According to a recent poll conducted by Ipsos, only 59% agreed that human activity had mainly contributed to climate change, compared to 93% of respondents in Indonesia, 92% in Mexico and 87% in Germany.

"It's clear that climate change is a reality and the climate is already changing. The science is overwhelmingly clear that if we allow unchecked climate change, we're asking for a lot of trouble," said Leape.

Challenge


Some have blamed the media for an anti-science sentiment, particularly in American politics with the rise of conservative groups that challenge accepted scientific theories.

Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade called global warming a "scam" in a discussion with Dr Alex Berezow, author of Science Left Behind.

The WWF said that the challenge remained for organisations to push the message that climate change was a threat to all living systems on the planet.

"I think our challenge is to continue to find ways to bring home that message: To bring to life the implications of climate change but also to bring to life the solutions," Leape said.

One of the solutions, according to the WWF, was the move away from fossil fuel to renewable energy.

"At the heart of addressing the problem of climate change is shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

"Renewable energy of course has many benefits: It's not just low carbon, but it's also cleaner in a variety of ways and it allows a more decentralised power system, and often a more reliable power system," said Leape.

Weather events

Germany recently reached a renewable energy milestone when it was announced that solar power plants in that country produced a world record 22 gigawatts (GW) of electricity per hour, which is equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity.

Australia also opened its biggest solar power plant in October, estimated to generate 10MW, enough to power 3 000 homes.

But in SA, many are opposed to renewable energy investment and a group calling itself Wind Point recently ran an advert claiming that 270 000 birds in the US are killed by wind turbines annually and called on South Africans to object to the development of wind energy as a clean energy alternative to coal and nuclear power production.

"It concerns us that there are people who are holding us back from moving toward renewable energy to putting forward 'un-credible' arguments," Ruth Mhlanga climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa told News24.

The extreme weather events in 2012 were a "reminder" of the reality of climate change, said the WWF.

"Public attention to an issue waxes and wanes, but you see this year alone, huge reminders of what climate change has in store for us," said Leape.

He added that many people might accept that weather patterns are changing, but not feel that it should have an impact of their behaviour.

"People might accept intellectually that these storms are an indication of a changing climate, but there's a natural temptation to say 'Oh, but it's just the weather.'"


- Follow Duncan on Twitter
 
- News24
Read more on:    greenpeace  |  wwf  |  climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
59 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mind power dominates and can help you to uncover things from a deeper level, but it can also create entanglements if you let your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.