Fear mongering or truth telling? The use of fear in environmental journalism.

On the subject of employing fear in environmental journalism, I am often dismayed by journalism that’s heavy on fear and light on solutions. However, I find willful ignorance—that overexploitation of ecosystems can somehow continue without serious environmental and socioeconomic consequences—even more dismaying. The fact is that superior management alternatives often exist, they’re just not compatible with economic priorities. I proposed one such solution–Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)–as a possible approach to address water management amidst intensifying drought in California.

On this growing crisis, Daniel Wood of the Christian Science Monitor writes: “Californians are wondering if the government, the media, and residents could be doing more to ensure that reserves last long enough to sustain the state through another year of drought.”

Perhaps a healthy dose of fear could help motivate California’s citizens (including its farmers) to find common ground and take the difficult but necessary steps toward sustainability?


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