Climate Protests Heating Up this Summer

Extinction Rebellion protestors in front of the NYT building in New York. ImageL Jefferson Siegel/Reuters

Although in 2018, the New York Times had published 795 articles relating to climate issues, protestors last week with the Extinction Rebellion (the same group responsible for massive protests recently in London) called for a change in the rhetoric the NYT uses in its climate coverage. They want the newspaper to transition away from phrases like “climate change” to “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” in order to reflect the sense of urgency associated with a warming planet. Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Eve Mosher explained to CNN that the New York Times should be treating their coverage of climate change “like [it ] was World War II.”

Why This Matters: Climate censorship is no conspiracy, but a very real phenomena taking place in the United States. As part of its climate denial narrative, the Trump administration has gone so far as to block and bury studies on the dangers of climate change while simultaneously denying the validity of the threats it poses to America’s security on national television. In order for the public to know what’s happening, the media has to convey the urgency of the climate threat not just through the stories it covers but through the language it uses, much like the Guardian recently did.

Arrested for Reporting? During the protest last week, journalist Michael Nigro was arrested for photographing the protest. He was charged with trespassing despite being in a public space during the time he was reporting. Though he was released a day later, his possessions and the tools he uses for reporting remained confiscated.

Keeping Count: The Silencing Science Tracker is a joint initiative of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. It tracks government attempts to restrict or prohibit scientific research, education or discussion, or the publication or use of scientific information, since the November 2016 election as they relate to climate change. The existence of such an initiative is further proof of how overwhelming and pervasive the climate denial narrative has become in the United States.

ICYMI: Yesterday protestors with the Sunrise Movement protested in front of the Democratic National Committee office here in Washington D.C. asking for the DNC to hold a climate change debate—something the DNC has stated it will not do.

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