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The Importance of Good News

By: Ava Smith


The Secret Weapon of Good News


A plethora of ecologically concerned people are likely to find themselves in the trap of negative news, as even I have found myself many times. “Earth Is Barreling Toward 1.5 Degrees Celsius Of Warming,Scientists Warn” or “The climate challenge : the future of the planet at stake”- I have read many similar, anxiety provoking titles.Data collected by Pew Research center shows that 39 percent of news coverage relates to climate disasters, and another 33 percent portrays conflict/disaster news.

Photo from: BBC


Concerns in the media about the climate crisis have increased due to many factors, the main including less economic concern and thereafter more focus on merely environmental science instead of the interdisciplinary aspects of climate change. These factors have been accelerated by former President Trump’s denial of the climate crisis, and his support for environmentally detrimental policies. .


With all of this immense climate chaos, it is no wonder that eco-anxiety (the fear of pending environmental doom) has increased among individuals, especially entrapping younger generations. To learn more about eco-anxiety, check out our article in Issue 2.

Photo From: INSIDER

A man watches flames in France

There is no doubt that the combination of eco-anxiety and pessimistic news articles can escalate the “doom and gloom” phenomenon within the world, yet a better system needs to be integrated in the journalism industry. Research by Nathanial Lambert from Brigham Young University, Implementing a sense of balance between negative, attention-grabbing news with positive demonstrated the bonuses of positive news. In a four week period, participants kept a journal of their positive and grateful experiences and shared them with a partner twice per week. The study proved that those who participated in this increased in overall happiness, as did people who received the good news. Implementing a sense of balance between negative, attention-grabbing news with positive media sources can help alleviate anxiety. Spending day after day reading headlines that exemplify the destruction of the planet can be mentally exhausting, so it is crucial to also focus on the positive environmental events occurring throughout society. The Daily Climate has an entire section dedicated to good climate news. Incorporating more positive environmental good news does not mean that society is ignoring the urgency of all of the bad environmental news, it is about creating a more uplifting atmosphere that sparks motivation rather than merely despair.


The act of balancing does not solely apply to climate news, but news in general. While informative and important, the media can often fixate on catastrophic events to grab your attention, making it easy to get sucked into a cycle of headlines, especially combined with the addictive and manipulative nature of social media. While it is of course to showcase the urgency of climate change by highlighting the detrimental climate disasters throughout the world, there needs to also be attention given to the positive environmental aspects occurring. Misery may love company, but that does not mean people should suffer from climate anxiety because of this.


Discussion Questions:

  • What are some changes you can make to incorporate more positive news into your life?

  • How have your current news sources affected the positivity or negativity of your news?



Sources


Ankel, S. (2021, September 5). If you feel that the world's environment is doomed after the Raging summer of hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, you could be suffering from 'eco-anxiety'. Business Insider. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.businessinsider.com/climate-change-causing-more-eco-anxiety-but-experts-feel-unprepared-2021-8.


Dienstman, A. M. (2020, April 20). Why reading good news is good for you. Goodnet. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.goodnet.org/articles/why-reading-good-news-is-good-for-you.


Hewett, F. (2021, July 2). Media coverage of climate change is IMPROVING. but that alone won't stamp Out Disinformation. Media Coverage Of Climate Change Is Improving. But That Alone Won't Stamp Out Disinformation | Cognoscenti. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2021/07/02/heat-political-bias-in-climate-coverage-frederick-hewett.


Rowlatt, J. (2021, January 1). Why 2021 could be turning point for tackling climate change. BBC News. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55498657.


Svoboda, M. (2021, March 31). Media coverage of climate change in 2019 got bigger - and better " Yale Climate connections. Yale Climate Connections. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/03/media-coverage-of-climate-change-in-2019-got-bigger-and-better/.


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