THE IMPACT OF PRINT MEDIA IN SHAPING AWARENESS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE IN MAUN.
As one of the fastest and most efficient tools of receiving and passing information, the media plays a very important role in the lives of people in the 21st century. All sorts of information that is vital to the society can be passed through different types of media such as print media (newspapers, magazines etc.), television, radio and the internet amongst others. The many environmental issues affecting productivity and causing loss of lives can be brought to people’s notice through media (Sayo, 2012).Once people are aware of the environmental issues such as climate change ,their causes, their effects and ways of avoiding them they can take the right precautions so that they can avoid such incidents to happen.
Climate change on the other hand is one global environmental issue that is a huge concern to the society all over the world and it leads to issues that can take human life such as asthma attacks, respiratory problems and other lung diseases. Climate change is a very complicated issue; it is an “un-obtrusive” issue that most people are unable to grasp first-hand (Rogers ; Dearing, 1988). People therefore need to constantly be taught about climate change and the media as a powerful tool of passing information can be effective in making people aware of climate change. Making people aware of climate change includes giving them tips on what to do so that they do not contribute to climate change, teaching them about the dangers of climate change and showing the effects of climate change where they are evident. These will be quite helpful since human activities such as electricity consumption and breeding livestock etc. are the ones that cause climate change through the greenhouse gases produced by these activities. A study conducted by (Arcury, T.A., Scollay, S., ; Jonson, T.P 1987) has emphasized the importance of different types of media such as newspapers, radio, television, electronic or print etc. in creating environmental awareness among the people of different communities belonging to urban and rural areas.
Globally, the media does play a very important role in making people aware of climate change. Most people around the world learn about climate change from the media or from people who heard from the media. Knowledge on issues for example, greenhouse effect, global climate change, ozone depletion, and water and air pollution reach people through the media (Morgan, T.1997). Climate change as a global issue also affects Botswana and an analysis of Botswana environment and climate change done in the University of Gothenburg in 2008 revealed that climate change is likely to impact Botswana’s ecosystems, especially the Okavango delta which is around Maun and this can have a negative impact on the people of Maun because the Okavango delta sustains their livelihoods through tourism, fishing and water for their agricultural practices. The people of Maun therefore need to be made aware of climate change and the media, print media in particular can be the most effective tool to reach them since it is affordable, portable and readily available for example the Botswana Daily News newspaper is available for free weekdays all over the country. The Daily News reaches all corners of Botswana to as far as Maun and beyond. In Maun there’s a weekly newspaper which covers issues of Maun and surrounding areas called the Ngami Times. Print media would be the right tool to use in making people of Maun aware of climate change because unlike television, radio or the internet would not require any satellite or network connection.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Through time, the media coverage has proven to be a key contributor among a number of factors that have shaped and affected science and policy discourse as well as public understanding and action (Boykoff ; Roberts, 2007). The media has and still plays a very important role in creating awareness on people about environmental issues such as climate change.
Print media especially newspaper are a reliable form of media used in creating awareness about climate change because newspapers are cheap and portable, they do not require any network or frequency connection unlike cellphones, television and radio which do. People can be made aware of climate change which is a very concerning environmental issue globally through print media such as newspapers, magazines and books more especially newspapers because they are flexible\portable, affordable and the fact that they are always available for example Botswana’s daily news newspaper is available every day of the week for free.
The effort print media has made in making people aware of climate change is visible not impressive. A study on the media and environmental awareness by (Sayo, 2012) revealed that the current media programs and news articles are more focused on controversies, conspiracies, gossips, drama and entertainment and they give little priority to making people aware of environmental issues such as climate change. The only time when an environmental issues for example climate change makes the front page of a newspaper is when a disaster has struck. The ways in which these disasters can be stopped from occurring hardly make it to the news. If print media regularly informed people about what leads to climate change and also gave them tips on avoiding climate change as much as it does with other issues then climate change could somehow be less of a threat.
This study therefore is geared towards evaluating the role of print media in raising awareness about climate change in Maun. It will go to as far as finding out if the issues covered by print media are of any relevance to the people of Maun for example, the study will look at issues covered by the Ngami Times which is a Maun newspaper and see if it covers issues of climate change and the Daily News newspaper which is a free newspaper available to all to see if it ever teaches people about climate change and if at all the issues are presented in a way that people can understand. This study will further make recommendations as to what can be done to make the people of Maun be aware of climate change and what they can do not to contribute to climate change.
The main objective is to evaluate the impact of print media in shaping awareness about climate change to people in Maun.
The Specific Objectives
• To identify the level of knowledge about climate change in Maun.
• To identify how far print media goes in covering climate change issues.
• To discover the importance of climate change issues covered by print media to Maun individuals.
• To examine if the climate change issues covered by print media are presented in a way that the readers would understand or not
• To evaluate the role played by print media in making people aware of climate change in Maun.
1. What is general level of knowledge about climate change among individuals in Maun?
2. How fare does print media go in covering issues of climate change in Maun
3. Are climate change issues covered by print media relevant to the general population of Maun?
4. Is print media a compelling tool for creating awareness about climate change in Maun?