Climate justice communication: “the media is a key supporter of the extractive schemes”

ARGENTINA-

The effects of climate change have a disproportionate impacto ver people and communities in vulnerable situations. Hence, according to the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) “it is essential to provide these communities with the possibility to excercise their right to communication to tell their own stories, to assemble for change and implement their own solutions to the climate crisis.” With that goal in mind, experiences were shared in an environmental communication during Forum “Communication: A Cornerstone for Social Justice” held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 18 to 21 October 2022 and of which 30 participants of the WACC Project from different Latin American and Caribbean countries will participate.

“Instead of discussing the ‘environment’ I prefer to talk about the current extractive scheme and the media is a key supporter of this scheme; that’s why I state that media isn’t big because of what the disclose but because of what they hide,’ says Dario Aranda, journalist on environmental matters in Argentina, and who was present at the WACC Forum. Aranda has written for newsletter Página 12 for years now and is the founder of agency Tierra Viva (Living Land).

From Tierra Viva, journalist Mariangeles Guerrero highlighted as key subjects impairing communication of the land and communities’ reality: the centralization of the media, the selling of the land to foreing buyers, and the federalization of the Capital’s agenda damaging the country’s regional ones.

The media coverage is urban and when rural work is discussed, the environmental agenda is never taken into account, said the journalist. “The centralization/colonization is a social institution in production and communication, and the result is that people see the rural areas as rich, favouring foremen who move around in expensive vehicles, but that is not the reality of the rural worker. Those foremen organizations use the common goods to produce commodities. Agriculture as a family activity is put on second place and the media do not mention it. Over 90% of the people who work the land in the country are not owners, but still they produce over 62% of what we consume,” she states.

As a summary of the experiences communicating this reality of environmental injustice, of inequalities in regard to accessing the land, the use of poisonous chemicals and the abusive use of common goods, Aranda stated some ideas to tell the stories of the lands:

Let’s try and tell about the triumphs, not just the bad news

Presence in the lands and active listening are necessary

We do not give voice to anyone, everybody has their own

We cannot blindly support power for the sake of so-called forms of progress

Stop believing we own a specific matter

Social media increases this apparent “ownership of subjects” exponentially

Every year, the WACC supports dozens of initiatives at a community level in many parts of the world that work for the promotion of the right to communication and sustainable development. The WACC is an NGO created for the defense and promotion of the right to communication in order to promote social justice.

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