Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting important information to the Rochester, NY public: The Rochester ANNOUNCElist


It would seem in these days of social media and the Internet itself, that it would be easier to disseminate information to the public, especially important environmental information. Except that isn’t the case. What has evolved in this media crisis (as explained by Robert W. McChesney, John Nichols in their seminal book “The Death and Life of American Journalism”)is a collapse of real journalism and a consolidation of the mainstream media where the voice of the media’s owners and backers get to frame the issues most American hear. This doesn’t bode well for a Democracy and a healthy environment.

One of the issues critical to our existence that doesn’t get much support, and thus much attention from the public, is the state of our environment. Of course, there is a lot of environmental information out there, but because of the silo effect (issue groups tend to speak to themselves instead of the public at large) the public is sometime oblivious to some of the most important issues of our day. Note the relationship in the US between political parities and the inclination to believe the Climate Change Crisis:

“In the United States an individual’s partisan affiliation is the most important determinant of their views on the existence of global warming, with Democrats significantly more likely than Republicans to believe that the Earth is warming” Climate Compared: Public Opinion on Climate Change in the United States & Canada February 2011

Climate Change, pollution, loss of biodiversity, and other environmental issues are not just the focus of issue groups. Framing environmental concerns about the environment we need to survive in has somehow evolved in our media to the point where survival is only the concern of some, a small but passionate group who are forever thinking up clever street theatre to engage the public on these special issues. Please. When our environment heats up every one will experience the Likely Changes in the Rochester, NY region, not just a small group of environmentalists. Climate Change and other concerns that will affect our future must be catapulted to the top of mainstream news—even if that dysfunctional system has to be replaced.

Think of it: We just completed the Durban Climate Change talks and there will be no questions from the media to the GOP candidates on whether they will comply with the provisions to halt the world-wide increase of greenhouse gases. We should be having a nation-wide discussion during the presidential debates about whether the US will continue to work on the world stage to curb Climate Change but under the present state of mainstream media, who panders to the political dollars and the political parties’ agenda, instead of the public’s agenda, that isn’t going to happen. Incredibly, we are going to put someone at the most powerful office in the world and not talk about Climate Change.

“What on Earth,” our next generation will ask, “were you thinking?”

Locally, one of the best ways to help get the message out about events to educate the public is to sign up and get others to sign up to a very effective announce list for in the Rochester, NY region. This moderated list, which announces important events, including environmental events, has been critical in gathering area residents to educational events that might otherwise be under-attended. Check this out, sign up, and help this worthy cause get thousands more aware of the important events in our area.

‘The Rochester ANNOUNCE list has been serving our community 365 days a year and 24 hours a day for more than a decade. This free service has a very simple goal: help promote local progressive events lead by local progressive activists. Any subscriber to ANNOUNCE may post information about a local progressive event. Volunteers quietly moderate the flow of messages making sure the list stays focused. Every year more than 500 calls to action go out to nearly 1,000 subscribers. But wouldn't it be GREAT if the number of subscribers swelled to 2,000 or more?’ RochesterAlliance

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