Bandile Mdlalose of Abahlali baseMjondolo (The South African Shack Dwellers Movement) said that most people think of climate change as a future crisis, but "we at Abahlali baseMjondolo think of it as a crisis that is affecting us now."
She argued that the media should go directly to poor communities to learn first hand how climate change is affecting them. Often the media reports on official positions and perspectives from government, which tends to promote government's so-called green agenda. However, they miss out on reporting on the actual environments that poor people are forced to live in, thus only telling half the story, i.e., the full picture does not emerge.
People need to know what is happening at a grassroots level Mdlalose said, adding that the language of climate change needs to be simplified and linked to the daily struggles of poor people.
Mdlalose made these remarks at a roundtable discussion, which sought to ascertain how the South African media is reporting on climate change in the run up to COP17. The roundtable was co-hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung South Africa Office and the South African Civil Society Information Service. It took place on November 11, 2011.
Keynote speakers at the event included: Brendan Boyle (Editor, Daily Dispatch), Sue Blaine (Environment and Development Editor, Business Day), Prof. Herman Wasserman, (Deputy Head of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University), Bobby Peek (Director, Groundwork) and Saliem Fakier (Head of the Living Planet Unit at the World Wildlife Fund and SACSIS columnist).