by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives, hosted a one-day workshop in St. Kitts and Nevis to sensitise the media on how to better report on Climate Change.
As part of the European Union – Global Climate Challenge Alliance Plus Initiative (EU-GCCA+) “Time is Running Out Climate Literacy Campaign”, CCCCC has planned a 12-month programme with the media.
The project includes:
- Sensitisation Sessions
- Media Awards
- Press Tours/Conferences
- Media Delegations To International Climate Change Meetings/ Conferences
- Media Invitations To Cover Key Events And Activities
Day one featured instruction, fact-sharing, and practical exercises to:
- Equip media workers with first-hand experiences, information, and tools to champion Climate Change stories and improve the frequency and accuracy of Climate Change reporting.
- Demystify the complexities of Climate Change and amplify how human interest angles elaborate the emotional side to convey stronger stories.
- Demonstrate how to break down scientific facts into practical climate solutions for everyday people.
- Share examples of how climate-related stories can be framed to help guide local actions and improve public knowledge and understanding that could catalyse actions and access opportunities and benefits.
Understanding that reporting climate science concepts to non-science audiences with accuracy can be challenging.
Chairperson of the workshop, Ms June Hughes, Director in the Department of the Environment and Cooperatives on St. Kitts and Nevis, spoke on other initiatives the government is working on to bring more awareness, education and action towards Climate Change mitigation.
“We try as much – and in every arena – [to] raise awareness. We raise awareness within the departments themselves and also with the general public – of possible impacts, what we can do, what actions we can take to mitigate those impacts and what we can do ahead of time. How we can adapt to any impact that will come.”
Communications Specialist at CCCCC, Ms. Tecla Fontenard, was the facilitator of the one-day workshop and gave two presentations to the media.
The first one was “Communicating on Climate Change; Key findings on Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) Study Conducted in St. Kitts and Nevis (2021) – Challenges, Lessons, and Best Practices.”
KAP surveys are a quantitative method (predefined questions formatted in standardised questionnaires) that provides access to quantitative and qualitative information.
The second was a Presentation and Plenary Discussion on Climate Literacy in St. Kitts and Nevis, the role of the media and other sectors.
Fontenard gave a snapshot of her thoughts on the workshop.
“So far, I think the workshop is going really well. What we try to do in this workshop always is to present what we find as what’s called the Climate Change awareness baseline of the St. Kitts and Nevis population. And then based on that type of baseline on where people are at, what people are thinking of, what their knowledge base is about climate change, what’s their attitudes, what are the typical practices now, and then we try to develop Climate Change awareness campaigns to deal with the gaps and to help them have better behaviours, and to increase their knowledge and to have an understanding of how their individual actions hurt Climate Change or help Climate Change. So far, the workshop is working really well. It’s extremely interactive. The media people are extremely responsive. They ask a lot of questions. They’re not shy to talk about what the challenges are.”
Based on the KAP Study conducted in St. Kitts and Nevis, Fontenard shared data on the people in the Federation’s understanding of Climate Change.
“Like 60%, let’s say according to the data we have, we’d say about 60% to 61% of people have heard the term. Less than that, have a basic understanding of the term or a general understanding of the term. But according to the survey, the general population doesn’t understand the term well. They don’t take any personal responsibility for Climate Change. Some of them say they don’t understand what they’re supposed to do. And some of them also say they don’t know which agencies are working in climate change. At least that’s what the data is showing.”
Based on the data, Fontenard explained the importance of the media’s role.
“But the data also shows the importance of mass media in Climate Change. It also shows that they look to journalism, mainstream journalism and mainstream mass media for information on Climate Change. They still believe that these are the more credible sources – despite that they like the internet and that’s a place most of them look for information – they still believe mass media is important. So [the] number one place for looking for information is the internet, followed by local TV, followed by local radio – that’s what the data shows. So it tells me that people in St. Kitts still like mass media; they still believe it’s the preferred source – they say that – they still believe it’s the most trusted media. So in terms of what I think we should be trying to do now because the level of knowledge and understanding is low, is that the media has to understand they have a key role in trying to help people understand Climate Change more and showing them how they can take individual action to help themselves cope with Climate Change.”
Mr Derionne Edmeade from the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives also presented the current facts of Climate Change in St. Kitts and Nevis and the impacts on the Federation.
Mr Steve Maximay, Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) Journalist Trainer and Managing Director at Science-Based Initiatives, presented “Framing the Climate Change story through storyboarding.”
On Day 2, the participants took a bus tour to visit demonstrations of climate change adaptation interventions currently undertaken by the CCCCC in St. Kitts.
After the workshop and tour, the experts hope that journalists and other media professionals understand the possible linkages that could be made to Climate Change and seemingly unrelated stories to increase awareness, education and knowledge on the topic.