Climate & Environment
Disinformation Toolkit 2.0
Disinformation impacts public understanding of the urgency of climate change.
Climate-focused dis- and misinformation continue to spread through social media and messaging apps, with a significant impact on the public’s understanding of the issue and its urgency. According to Owen Gaffney of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, “social media reports have created a toxic environment where it’s now very difficult to distinguish facts from fiction. One of the biggest challenges now facing humanity is our inability to tell fact from fiction. This is undermining democracies, which in turn is limiting our ability to make long-term decisions needed to save the planet.”
The recent debut of Facebook’s Climate Science Information Center is an acknowledgment of the severity of the challenge, as well as the difficulty in designing effective solutions through the platforms which exacerbate the problem to begin with. According to D.W., “posts about climate change will now automatically be labeled with an information banner that directs people to accurate climate science data at the company’s Climate Science Information Center.”It remains to be seen if this approach will have an impact on the problem.
While thousands of NGOs around the globe are working to combat the harmful impacts of climate, Internews’ work through the Environmental Journalism Network stands out.
InterAction’s NGO Climate Compact
On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2020, InterAction and 80+ Member NGOs launched the NGO Climate Compact to pledge concerted, unified, and urgent action to address climate change. The purpose of the Compact is to initiate large-scale change across our sector. It recognizes that the environment is central to achieving our mission to serve the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Learn more HERE.
According to its website, Internews established the Earth Journalism Network, or EJN, “in 2004 to enable journalists from developing countries to cover the environment more effectively. We are now a truly global network working with reporters and media outlets in virtually every region of the world. In our mission to improve the quantity and quality of environmental reporting, EJN trains journalists to cover a wide variety of issues, develops innovative online environmental news sites, and produces content for local media—including ground-breaking investigative reports. We also establish networks of environmental journalists in countries where they don’t exist and build their capacity where they do. We do so through workshops and the development of training materials and by offering Fellowship programs, grants to media organizations, story stipends, and support for story production and distribution. Watch the video above to learn more about our work.”
EJN works with journalists around the world to help them debunk climate misinformation and ensure journalists are well-prepared to push back on mis- and disinformation and its impacts on climate and society. Through its website, EJN publishes weekly content on the relationship between the natural world and society, including fact checks and debunks of climate misinformation, resources for reporters, opportunities for journalists, geospatial tools for journalism, examples of data journalism, and special reports.
International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL)
ICNL’s June 2020 briefer on the Closing Civic Space for Climate Activists highlights the ways in which civic space is closing for civil society leaders and organizations advocating for climate justice. This briefer highlights legal and extralegal measures used to target civil society actors around the world, including threats to assembly; threats to association, expression, and the right to information; threats to public participation; and other forms of harassment such as trolling, stigmatization, and physical attacks.