guest column:Peter Makwanya
Despite climate change being just a buzz word and phenomena, with the media mouth-pieces and platforms screaming about climate change universals and ethical considerations — including climate action practices, all forms of climate change coverages around the world should translate into meaningful action strategies.
As they practise these climate fundamentals, they will be advocating for life-long learning and skills to form sustainable climate action strategies, relevant in the new information age and world order.
For these climate change fundamentals to succeed, it would depend on how information is communicated through a wide variety of world media platforms.
It is the manner in which climate change information is communicated to specific audiences, which should prompt people and other stakeholders into action or in a manner that will demoralise or disempower their will, soul, intrinsic motivation as well as eco-conscious desire for environmental sustainability.
In this regard, how climate change knowledge brokers, communicators, scientists and policymakers talk about climate change challenges, should excite people and lead them into action.
Indeed, people, as sustainable audiences, require some transformations in the manner they visualise or interact with the environment, by nurturing their creativity and spirits of innovations.
Although widespread climate change coverage is important in empowering people with powerful eco-conscious ideas, it is the manner in which it is done, which should be effective.
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Responses to the climate change fundamentals and translating them into sustainable actions or resilience would require the spirit of Ubuntu/humanism, urgency and pro-activeness.
That is the desire to examine one’s surroundings objectively, while influenced by relevant and appropriate world views, in order to identify the missing links or gaps in their immediate environment.
As individuals who are assertive and conscious of their surroundings, relevant authorities need to structure and come up with achievable and measurable goals.
Policymakers and relevant authorities should go it simple and practical rather than being overwhelmed by their own objectives.
While it is always good to be ambitious, planners should not be slaves of their objectives.
The objectives are not meant to kill people, but to transform and deliver them from climate change challenges in order to realise their climate goals.
For these reasons, they need to establish interactive and dialoguing relationships with their environment, in reciprocal situations, rather than an eco-freak relationship.
The spirit of humanism and environmental stewardship would always be the appropriate starting point for creative thinking and innovations for climate action strategies.
Climate change information should be audience and context-specific in order for it to save a purpose and translate into deliverables.
The language used should not be threatening, but empowering to help transform people into true environmental stewards and nature heroes.
The poor also need to have their place in the climate action strategies framework so as to be climate literate.
Context-specific communication strategies lead to climate solutions, which translate into climate actions.
Climate information messages need to be concrete, effective in communication and proactive in action, and should prompt many people into creative thinking and pathways to change innovations.
Even policymakers should enact policies that evoke a spirit of action or desire to correct environmental imbalances.
This also requires climate scientists to be open in their community of practices as well as to establish some working relationships with stakeholders, especially the media and universities. What the media communicate should never divert the people or other stakeholders’ attention from the pressing environmental challenges.
Instead, people’s attention should be strengthened, modified, re-directed and rejuvenated into a variety of framework goals.
In this regard, knowledge of audiences would save to situate each and every individual into their community of practices determined by their situations, needs analysis, qualifications or immediate community environmental concerns.
This would require local initiatives to tackle local problems using the local perspectives and local resources.
People already have ideas or what needs to be done in order to tackle climate challenges, but they lack inspiration, appropriate voices and guidance.
The ability to be or not to be heard becomes the missing link in rural development and, in particular, climate change adaptations.
All in all, and above everything else, objectives need to be designed according to the needs of local communities, their desires and challenges.