Environmental journalists inform, educate and raise awareness. Informing is the basis of journalism, telling the stories that happen. Educating, in our case, involves explaining to the public how these environmental issues are going to affect their daily lives, through water, energy, food and mobility, for instance. Every day, our articles and reports educate about how to make better use of water, what the energy transition comprises, how renewable energy and conservation of biodiversity can be developed, where the food we buy comes from, and what sustainable mobility is. Because, ultimately, all the decisions we make - from the moment we get up - are environmental decisions: the energy we have at home, how we get to work and what we are going to buy to eat.
In addition to this education, environmental journalism is dedicated to fostering environmental awareness. In other words, the next step following from the knowledge we are acquiring is changing our habits. And this is the most difficult part, as we are creatures of habit, and it is hard to change.
"Environmental journalists inform, educate and raise awareness"
But the planet has given us very clear signals that sustainability is impossible at this pace. The model is not sustainable if, every year, we consume all the natural resources we have for a year in six months and live on rents. We need to change the way we produce and consume, choose local, zero-mile products, foster decarbonisation with renewable energies, conserve the biodiversity that protects us against pandemics, and improve the quality of the air we breathe.
Environmental communication has raised the profile of issues that were not being talked about even five years ago, such as electric mobility, green hydrogen, regenerative agriculture and secondary raw materials. We foster knowledge of these advances, and many environmental issues now form the core of conversations among family and friends. Climate change has ceased to be a topic just for scientists and has spread to conversations at the school gates, in bars and at the beach. More intense and frequent heatwaves have made us realise that climate change is already here, and that we need to adapt and mitigate it.
The increased prevalence of information and the scale of the problem of climate change may lead to the risk of inaction: this is the new denialism of the twenty-first century. To combat it - because climate change is global but has local solutions - we need to avoid getting trapped in continuous catastrophism and to open up information spaces for constructive journalism that offers solutions.
"Environmental communication has raised the profile of issues that were not being talked about even five years ago"
This positive journalism covers projects and stories that had been anonymous but that are replicable and can help change habits, and it addresses different and more sustainable ways of producing and consuming. Solutions journalism is our ally in the fight against climate change.
For companies, the moment of change is crucial, as consumers are no longer only concerned about prices: they also worry about how products are produced and services are delivered. The environmental factor is becoming key in decision-making: companies have to strive to communicate and explain the importance of sustainability in their business. Companies that understand that the environment is a priority will have an advantage. On a planet with limited natural resources, making good use of them will mean that the company has a future, while the days will be numbered for those that retain a twentieth-century mindset that the planet is infinite and is ours to deplete.
"Solutions journalism is our ally in the fight against climate change"
Consumers have more and more environmental information for making informed decisions and being demanding with brands. Environmental communication is essential for fostering this change of habits that the planet demands, and for ensuring that environmental awareness extends to all areas. Children receive environmental education at school, but adults also need to be reminded: environmental journalism fulfils the three objectives we mentioned at the start of this piece: inform, educate and raise awareness.