20200
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2070
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2020
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7

The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

“There were multiple examples of serious journalistic commitments in 2019 which point the way forward.”

I’ve been much less certain about my predictions in years past, but I’m confident that 2020 is going to be the year when the climate crisis becomes a central story for news organizations. It will take its place where it deserves to be — as a touching-every-aspect-of-life story.

The climate crisis is an existential threat for the world as we’ve known it. Given that, will the story get all the resources it deserves from already-strapped news organizations? Probably not. But there were multiple examples of serious journalistic commitments in 2019 which point the way forward. Some examples:

In the tech world, where I’ve lived for the last six years, there are many communities of people forming that are devoting themselves to working on climate solutions. Bryce Roberts, a venture capitalist, said on Twitter recently, “Climate change is the new crypto. Many of the smartest people in tech shifting their time, attention and dollars to the escalating climate crisis.”

What pushed the story to the forefront? Certainly Greta Thunberg deserves a lot of credit. And then there are the alarming, ticking-time-bomb facts: Climate-related disasters are happening with ever greater frequency, and the warming of the planet is accelerating. I also think the growing backlash against plastics has made our disregard for the planet a real, tangible thing for people, as opposed to something scientific, distant, and amorphous.

Many rightfully argue that all of this should have happened sooner, it’s not happening fast enough, and there still aren’t enough attention and resources being committed given the scale and urgency of the problem. But I’m choosing to see the glass as half full and to take comfort in the public commitments from news organizations, which are solid steps in the right direction.

I also think you’ll see more news organizations make sustainability commitments themselves, like The Guardian’s pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. I believe companies across all industries will not be able to hire and retain the next generation of talent if they don’t act sustainably.

Geoff Dembicki of Vice says that as we say goodbye to the 2010’s, we’re also saying goodbye to polite conversation about climate change. I hope he’s right.

Fiona Spruill is former chief operating officer at Meetup and a former editor at The New York Times.

I’ve been much less certain about my predictions in years past, but I’m confident that 2020 is going to be the year when the climate crisis becomes a central story for news organizations. It will take its place where it deserves to be — as a touching-every-aspect-of-life story.

The climate crisis is an existential threat for the world as we’ve known it. Given that, will the story get all the resources it deserves from already-strapped news organizations? Probably not. But there were multiple examples of serious journalistic commitments in 2019 which point the way forward. Some examples:

In the tech world, where I’ve lived for the last six years, there are many communities of people forming that are devoting themselves to working on climate solutions. Bryce Roberts, a venture capitalist, said on Twitter recently, “Climate change is the new crypto. Many of the smartest people in tech shifting their time, attention and dollars to the escalating climate crisis.”

What pushed the story to the forefront? Certainly Greta Thunberg deserves a lot of credit. And then there are the alarming, ticking-time-bomb facts: Climate-related disasters are happening with ever greater frequency, and the warming of the planet is accelerating. I also think the growing backlash against plastics has made our disregard for the planet a real, tangible thing for people, as opposed to something scientific, distant, and amorphous.

Many rightfully argue that all of this should have happened sooner, it’s not happening fast enough, and there still aren’t enough attention and resources being committed given the scale and urgency of the problem. But I’m choosing to see the glass as half full and to take comfort in the public commitments from news organizations, which are solid steps in the right direction.

I also think you’ll see more news organizations make sustainability commitments themselves, like The Guardian’s pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. I believe companies across all industries will not be able to hire and retain the next generation of talent if they don’t act sustainably.

Geoff Dembicki of Vice says that as we say goodbye to the 2010’s, we’re also saying goodbye to polite conversation about climate change. I hope he’s right.

Fiona Spruill is former chief operating officer at Meetup and a former editor at The New York Times.

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