San Miniato, 8 March 2019 – The media of the world has a fundamental role in telling the dramatic story of deforestation, one of the main causes of the increasing climate change, social issues and sanitary problems, a trigger for an exponential rise in environmental migration. And the ethical responsibility knows no frontiers. A common sentiment shared by the environmental journalists attending the 15th International Media Forum for the Protection of Nature organized by Greenaccord and the Region of Tuscany in San Miniato (Pisa). Different experts in environmental communication have underlined the tight link, underestimated by the rich Western countries, between the falling forests and the people migrating.
According to the Rai documentary filmmaker Davide Demichelis, “one of the most important obstacles we encounter when we try to explain deforestation are the enormous underlaying economic and political interests. We report in a very tight space, a reason to better our efforts in finding strong and positive stories for our viewers and readers. I believe that the BBC’s motto should be owned by all: inform, educate and entertain. The current times require it. We live in a time of ‘America first’ and ‘Italians first’. But we still have the obligation to tell the tragic story of the environmental refugees and how the deforestation all over our planet is increasing the masses of people who are forced to leave their homes because of climate change”.
According to German-native Katharina Seuser, former president of Enaj (European Network of Agricultural Journalists), a European organization of journalists and media experts focusing on agriculture, “everyone’s objective must be to monitor the independence of the media and better the ethics of the journalists who must be put in the condition to report every side”. Seuser also underlined that we need to support “a sustainable management of the woodlands for a proper use of natural resources without undermining the futures of generations to come”.
The demand for an international approach to the environmental issues “is something we can not postpone any longer”, explained Stefania Falasca, journalist of the Italian newspaper Avvenire. In Italy this type of approach received a great push by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, “a prophetic encyclical which is still struggling in being recognized fully. It is not a coincidence that his Holiness has decided to summon a synod next October dedicated to the Amazon”. A global issue which will impose a challenge for the Italy-based journalists. The environmental issues in Italy receive coverage in the first years of the Seventies, says Falasca “but only because of the Chernobyl disaster, which prompted an awakening in the Italian press, even though concentrated only on local emergencies. Today instead, we must promote a 360-degree environmental culture and bring all the citizens closer to the issues”.
According to Delfina Santoro, a Gamificationlab expert at the University La Sapienza in Rome, “defining new guidelines for communicators is fundamental, embracing the challenge of spreading the positive stories. Technology is not a refuge and the aseptic technological approaches do not create a true connection between people. To do so, there must be a direct involvement of the people and the mass media must become the ambassadors for environmental topics”.