Saliem Fakir, head of the Living Planet Unit at the World Wildlife Fund and SACSIS columnist said his impression of the climate change debate is that its like talking about aliens and what would happen if aliens landed on earth. People are fascinated by the idea, but it remains a remote notion and the conversation tends to stay at that level. Media coverage on climate change is a little like that conversation about aliens, he said.
In trying to get the public to understand the importance of climate change, the point to get across is not just what it means for public knowledge, but what it means for public choices, Fakir argued.
Fakir 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).