Climate without Borders: putting changing climate into a new perspective
Guest post by Mike Favetta
The goal of “Climate without Borders” (CwB) is to unite TV weather presenters from all over the world and bring scientific knowledge to a broader public. This, in turn, creates climate awareness and creates support for the urgent climate action needed. Although the name suggests a kind of connection with Doctors without Borders, members of Climate without Borders won’t be traveling to island nations about to be submerged, like Tuvalu, or areas sub and physically volunteering in the refugee efforts. Rather, Climate without Borders is a network of TV weathercasters around the world who aim to communicate the science, and impact of climate change, and give warnings to their local viewing populations. This makes the organization unique in the world. TV weathercasters are trusted sources of information, and they know the nuances of their audience’s cultures to make messages more understandable. Exploiting this relationship is an effective way of sharing climate information that people will listen to and comprehend.
The story of Climate without Borders
How did it all begin? There’s a saying in TV news; if it bleeds, it leads. When the weather is at its fiercest, TV weathercasters are often recruited to explain. They’re held as bastions of scientific knowledge, even having to research obscure phenomenon that they might not be entirely familiar with. As global extreme weather events became more of a local news matter, TV meteorologists began to contact one another with questions about weather events specific to their region. Over the years, those messages developed into a private network in which weather presenters share information about climate and weather events, even offering new and unique perspectives to various noteworthy events, or to comment on published climate assessments.
When the Paris Agreement was signed, Mr Fabius who chaired the whole COP meeting stated that everyone could find its own piece in it. And Climate without Borders found its goal in Article 12, that states that all countries in the world should work on proper education, and invest in correct information, so that each and everyone becomes aware of the threat that comes with climate change, and the urgent climate action needed. The daily reach that weather presenters have nowadays is huge, through classic media such as TV and radio, and their socials. But being on the barricades of the changing weather patterns, doesn’t mean that all weather presenters are well educated and know how to answer on questions about sustainable mobility, agriculture, food patterns, etc.
Weather presenters reach many and are good communicators
For a large part of the population, the best phrase to instantly lose many people’s attention is “climate assessment” – How boring! Yet, it becomes the weather presenter’s job to make it interesting and relatable, possibly to someone’s wallet. If the talk of the town is how expensive a particular produce is at the market, which is directly due to extreme weather that damaged the crops, that would be time for the weather presenter to offer the explanation, relating to climate science. If a recent drought is causing a popular local harvest festival to be canceled, that would similarly get the viewer’s attention.
Climate experts are very smart people and most perform fantastic technical research. They are a critical part of furthering climate science. A common skill that could be improved, however, is proper communication to connect with their audiences, especially across various cultures. Similarly, journalists are excellent at telling a compelling story in print or on screen that instantly connects with their local audience, even with just one headline. Most of those journalists, though, lack the science background to turn the complex technical information into a clear and digestible message. This is where Climate without Borders comes in. We are the face of the Science. I am proud to be a founding member of the organization, someone who communicates the climate message in a clear and consistent manner by understanding my audience through and through.
While the situation in Tuvalu may be grave, the rest of us on the other side of the world don’t think about it often. But when a rapidly intensifying storm, supercharged by climate change, hits a major metropolitan area nearby to our hometown, we become obsessed with finding out the why or how. In this day and age, curious minds turn to social, asking their local TV weathercaster to explain what happened. Thanks to technology, the dynamic of TV weather presentations are changing. Instead of turning on the TV screen to wait for the curated weather forecast, more and more people are turning to their phone screens to get a customized weather report. But try to ask your digital assistant if climate change is responsible for the record flooding rains in tomorrow’s forecast, and there’s radio silence.
Climate without Borders activities
Climate without Borders’ goal is to expand our network so more countries are represented by their TV weathercasters. Additionally, Climate without Borders has started a school initiatives, which are an important way to get young students involved, so they can understand how the weather works, and how the changing climate can be felt in their own schoolyard. The Weatherbox campaign, for example, uses a Raspberry Pi board that students can program and connect to weather observing instruments to share the data with other schools and organizations around the world. This citizen science project will be launched in Belgium, supported by the local weather presenter, and from there it will be rolled out to other weather presenters, in more countries. Gathering data is key in this project, so to make better weather predictions and save people’s lives (adaptation), but also education so that climate actions can have a broader support from society (mitigation).
Help promote Climate without Borders
One way you can help our organization succeed is by voting for Climate without Borders in CCMC’s contest page here.
Climate without Borders has been selected as one of the contenders for the award “Best Climate Solution” in the category Education & Media. If you also believe in the power of climate communication by weather presenters, you can support Climate without Borders in this contest. It is as easy as this:
1. Register at the website: http://bit.ly/2QSLn1l
2. Give as many stars as possible to Climate without Borders: http://bit.ly/CwoB-BestClimateSolution
3. Click on the ‘VOTE’ button and it’s done
Mr. Favetta has been an American Meteorological Society member since 2005 and a certified consulting meteorologist (CCM) since 2016, and works in Milan/Italy and New York.
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