Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rochester’s 350.org Coverage

Judging from the media response around the world, the 350.org event has been a hit: October 24 Press Release | 350.org “350.org To Stage Largest Day of Environmental Action in History | 5,242 Simultaneous Events on Climate in 181 Countries.”

“Citizens, scientists and world leaders in 181 countries will take to nearby streets, mountains, parks, and reefs today to demand strong action on climate change, in what will be the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history. 5,242 rallies and creative demonstrations will take place, all of them centered on the number 350, to draw attention to 350 parts per million (ppm), which an overwhelming number of scientists now insist is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

However, judging from our local media response to the several 350.org events, not much happened: a Rousing Dud. (Disclaimer: Because I did not rush out and buy up all the paper versions of our local media, or frantically tune into all the TV and radio stations either, ((because they are insufferably myopic and merely pander to their corporate sponsors)), I am basing this observation on what our local media has posted on the Internet today—October 25, 2009.)

Maybe I posted this article too soon and the media just hasn’t gotten up to snuff yet on how this world-wide event played out in Rochester. Maybe, they’re all scurrying around in their backrooms, honing 350.org coverage so it will be a real sizzler when it comes out. Maybe.

But, I’m not on any of the local media’s editorial staff. So, what do I know? Maybe, getting world-wide attention focused on the planet warming up just is too far out of the comfort and profit zones of our local media. That must be the case because there are lots of sports, criminal activity, political carping, and lots of sports coverage on our local media. Really, a lot of sports. Sports are in, imminent environmental collapse is out.

Only as an observer (another disclaimer: I was a participant) did I see over sixty bicyclists ride from downtown Rochester to the RIT campus. Then, I witnessed for myself a great rally with the RIT president and his college in full support of the sea change needed on the matter of Climate Change and a full day’s programming to show that our community gets it on 350ppm. I witnessed lots of people taking photos and videos and uploading them to 350.org. To be fair, our local media wasn’t completely hopeless. I see one media with one article on one 350.org event for our area: RIT Marks International Day of Climate Action “It may not always be the right weather for a bike ride around here, but as they say wait 5 minutes and it'll change. The rain Saturday morning didn't stop a group of environmentally conscious riders from hitting the trail. The purpose: to mark the International Day of Climate Action.” (October 25, 09) http://rochester.ynn.com/

Yet, all in all it’s very troubling. One of 350.org’s purposes (the other was to get our politicians’ attention focused on the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009) was to make enough noise to make everyone take notice of the danger point we have passed for a sustainable environment. That is, to both circumvent the dysfunctional media and get in the face of a corporate-manipulated press that is disinclined to speak about the fact that the planet’s atmosphere is warming up due to humanity’s activities.

Our planet is warming up due to our way of life. This is as clear as those annoying pop-ups on every mainstream media’s web page, as clear as the ubiquitous sports scores that flash across those flat screen TV’s, and as eye-catching as the endless violence that inundates local media stories: Those charged with informing us with the information we need to live sustainable are not doing their job.

If you did attend one of the area’s 350.org events, and you still welcome a challenge, why not contact your local media and ask them why they didn’t cover Rochester’s participation in this world-wide event?

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