By Perpi Tiongson
March 18, 2022
While reliable evidence-based information about climate change has grown tremendously in the last five years, much of it is often too technical and rarely involves a call for action. It is rarely communicated in a way that can be easily understood by decision-makers and the general public as a whole, especially by communities most at risk.
Studies have found that in media reporting of climate change adaptation in developing countries, there has been little interest by journalists and editors to cover adaptation issues related to climate change. One of the main reasons for this is the low level of knowledge of the issues.
In response, the Oscar M. Lopez Center organized the Balangay Project with a media component that aims to organize local journalists and other media practitioners for more science-based reporting alongside creative journalism on the underreported climate realities in the country.
This media component features the Umalohokan Fellowship, a mix of co-production and capacity-building activities in climate science and climate communications, as well as the conduct of media blitz campaigns by the Fellows to raise awareness and understanding on climate issues in their communities. The Fellowship hopes to establish environmental journalism-led networks within local communities and across the nation to inspire action.
Last Dec. 10, 2021, the Oscar M. Lopez Center, in partnership with The Climate Reality Project Philippines (Climate Reality Philippines) and the Asia Society Philippines, held a multi-stakeholder forum to put the spotlight on some of the climate stories of the Center’s Umalohokan Fellows. More importantly, the forum aimed to engage key actors and stakeholders who can play a critical role in taking action.
The forum invited a panel of reactors to help facilitate roundtable discussions on the challenges of, and opportunities to, taking action related to each featured story. This served as a jump-off point for the solutions brainstorming that followed, where a breakout session was organized around each story with the active participation of the forum participants.
Led and moderated by the various thematic clusters of Climate Reality Philippines, the breakout sessions yielded a rich array of insights and ideas on how the issues featured in the climate stories could be taken a step further. The main discussion points of each cluster have been summarized in a synthesis report.
When taken together, the breakout sessions also provided valuable insights toward climate reporting and action. Many of the climate issues discussed continue to highlight pervading development concerns, such as climate impacts to livelihood, food security, and communities at large. Sadly, limited knowledge and capacity in understanding climate information and putting it to good use remain a challenge to many of the issues.
Surprisingly, most if not all, the breakout sessions saw networking and collaboration as an important element to solving issues, as if a recognition that climate action is no one person’s responsibility, but everyone’s. Multi-stakeholder forums, in this sense, could play a vital role in providing spaces for various actors and stakeholders to come together where trust, accountability, and shared mission can help guarantee open and honest dialogue.
Lastly, the forum was able to highlight the role that communicators play in making the voices of the underreported heard and in pushing the conversations closer to action. An important insight was ensuring that communicators allow communities to speak for themselves, not just on their behalf.
The plenary session, team presentations, and panel insights are available for viewing on the OML Center YouTube channel.
This multi-stakeholder forum is but the beginning. More climate stories need to be told and shared, and even more so, that must turn into action. The window to solve the climate crisis is shrinking fast. If these discussions can catalyze the networks to pull in and pool together what will be needed to arrest the rapid warming of the planet and its negative impacts, then we encourage everyone to take part in the storytelling and the problem solving by keeping the conversations going.
If you would like to know more about these stories, receive a copy of the synthesis report on the solutions brainstorming, or organize a multi-stakeholder forum, please email the Oscar M. Lopez Center at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT ELEVENTH HOUR
This article was originally published on The Climate Reality Project Philippines’ weekly column for the Manila Bulletin called Eleventh Hour.
This column serves a digital space to discuss our organization’s work on supporting the country’s just transition into a clean, affordable, and self-sufficient energy system; advancing sustainable urban mobility to highlight the issues of equity and democracy; and raising public awareness about the need to phase out single-use plastics. It also serves as a platform for Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders to share your stories, promote your climate initiatives, and provide critical insights to issues that matter to climate action, environmental protection, and sustainable development.