Harnessing the Power of Media: Addressing Climate Change Implications for Food and Nutrition Outcomes

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Elvis Eromosele

Introduction

The power of the media is undeniable when it comes to shaping public perception, influencing attitudes, and driving societal change. As a key source of information and storytelling, the media holds immense influence and responsibility in today’s interconnected world.

The Nestle Webinar on ‘Climate Change Implications for Food and Nutrition Outcomes: The Role of the Media’ in collaboration with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre (LBSSC) shed light on the significance of media in raising awareness about climate change and its impact on food systems. The webinar emphasized the urgent need for media professionals to engage with this critical issue and inspire actionable change in individuals and communities.

The communique issued at the end of the highly interactive session provides a comprehensive summary of the key discussions and highlights the essential role of media in addressing climate change and its effects on food security and nutrition.
Here are the four big issues covered:

Increasing Media and Public Interest
The webinar emphasized the responsibility of media professionals in disseminating accurate and relatable information about climate change. Media plays a crucial role in enlightening the public about the disruptive effects of climate change on food systems, food value chains, and overall well-being. By creating engaging and appealing stories, the media can prompt action and inspire change. It is essential for media professionals to convey information that is easily accessible, stimulating, simplified, and resonates with the audience, including amplifiers and investors interested in climate change solutions.

Enabling the Media
Partnerships and collaborations between the government, private sector, nonprofits, and the media are vital in empowering media professionals to effectively communicate stories, news, and content related to the effects of climate change on food and nutrition outcomes. The webinar emphasized the need for broader partnerships with NGOs and Development Institutions that have successfully advocated for climate change mitigation. Furthermore, establishing bridges between the media and the private sector, particularly in areas such as energy transitions, can promote awareness and drive progress. By highlighting the sustainability goals and energy transitions of industries like airlines and hotels, media professionals can captivate stakeholders and the general public.

Localizing the Discourse
To capture the attention of amplifiers, including investors interested in climate change solutions, it is crucial to showcase the impact of climate change on local communities. By highlighting the correlation between climate change outcomes and their effects on local populations, media can facilitate necessary adjustments in lifestyle, dietary choices, and sustainable decision-making. Conscious campaigns should be developed to connect with the audience at a local level. The success of raising awareness among young children in Nigeria about adverse weather conditions through localized content serves as a testament to the importance of these efforts. Media professionals should focus on telling transition stories, providing recommendations, and showcasing solutions, while emphasizing specific goals and actions taken. Prioritizing nuanced, creative, intentional, factual, engaging, and actionable stories in various formats such as podcasts, short videos, and local content can effectively convey the message.

Moving the Needle
Advocacy on climate change is of utmost importance to mitigate its effects on food security and nutrition. The media plays a pivotal role in driving advocacy efforts, pushing for policies that address climate change, and fostering necessary changes in behaviour. Journalists should conduct thorough research using established sources like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and reputable scientists. The gathered information should then be tailored to be simplified, accessible, stimulating, accurate, far-reaching, resonating, and appealing to convey the desired change and prompt necessary action from the public. Media should explore creative avenues such as partnering with Nollywood to produce films on climate change and collaborating with key stakeholders, states, and government parastatals that can influence social behaviour and enforce compliance.

Conclusion
Media has a vital role in urging the government and society to take actionable steps to combat the effects of climate change on food security and nutrition. By effectively raising awareness, promoting understanding, and inspiring change, the media can contribute to sustainable health and well-being for all. Government policies regarding climate change should be proactive, agile, forward-thinking, and implementable. The collective efforts of media professionals, governments, and society at large are crucial in addressing climate change and its implications for food and nutrition outcomes.

Elvis Eromosele, a Corporate Communication professional and public affairs analyst lives in Lagos.