He recently left his job as the main meteorologist in West Palm Beach to pursue a climate and society master’s degree at Columbia University.
He continues in broadcasting as a climate change contributor for CBS News and part-time television meteorologist in New York City.
Climate change is the most important issue facing mankind.
But I hesitate to use the word “responsibility” when it comes to climate change communication, because it implies obligation.
I prefer to think about climate change communication as a great opportunity for meteorologists to make a substantial positive impact on our world and expand the way we connect with our viewers.
For others, it is an opportunity to differentiate from other local broadcasters in the market by connecting with viewers through science communication.
I quit my job as the main meteorologist in West Palm Beach, left my salary and stability behind and enrolled in the climate and society master’s program at Columbia University.
Local communities are where some of the biggest climate communication challenges exist and where local experts are afforded the greatest opportunities to make a difference.
At a time when mobile apps are seizing market share, connecting the dots between climate change and your local forecast is an opportunity to get away from common, data-driven predictions by adding your own expert perspective.
In this age of quantity over quality, climate communication adds substance, helping raise the bar in local news broadcasting.
The 2018 climate change opinion report Climate Change in the American Mind, conducted by Yale and George Mason universities, found that only 9 percent of Americans are “dismissive” of climate change.
As you probably surmised, dismissal is often traced not to science but to the emotions associated with climate change coming into conflict with one’s livelihood, life philosophy, social identity or a distaste of objectionable climate solutions.
As the consequences of the climate challenge mount, we find ourselves presented with this remarkable opportunity, a chance to use our unique skill set of science, communication and trust to be an integral ingredient in the solution to this greatest of human obstacles.
Below, I share motivations and perspectives on climate change communications from various broadcast meteorologists who have shown bold leadership on this issue.
#MetsUnite Talking about climate change: 17 broadcast meteorologists share views and lessons learned Mike Nelson, ABC7 Denver: “As ‘station scientists,’ the TV meteorologist is as close to a scientist as most Americans get, and we are invited into our viewers living rooms.
This provides us with both an opportunity and a responsibility to talk about climate change.
That can have the unfortunate effect of making the climate change issue appear to have two balanced sides, when in reality, there is no debate in the scientific arena.
” Cassie Wilson, KRNV, Reno, Nev.:”I feel like I’m finally doing my civic duty, educating our community on climate change and what it means moving forward.”
(Wilson was deep in academia pursuing her PhD in climate policy when she realized that television news is where she wanted to be so that she could bridge the gap between climate change science and society.)
This is the biggest mistake being made in climate change communication nowadays, and until we fix it, we are not going to be able to educate anyone — we will continue to alienate people.”
(Parker is pursuing a master’s degree in climate change from N.C. State University.)
Eric Sorensen, WQAD, Moline, Ill.: “For every eight positive comments [I make about climate change], I get one to two negative ones.
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