(Reprinted from Editor & Publisher)
New York (CNN Business) — Listeners of WNYC’s daily program The Brian Lehrer Show say they’re limiting their use of plastics. They’re using bamboo toothbrushes. They’re making their own coffee with a French press. They’re purchasing reusable cups. It’s all part of Lehrer’s #PlasticChallenge, which he launched last week in tandem with the global journalism initiative, Covering Climate Now.
“A rap on climate talk is that it’s boring, that it can be technical, doom and gloom without a lot of solutions and remote from people’s lives unless you were caught in the middle of something, that it’s abstract and a remote threat for the year 2100. Judging from the demand to get on the air by callers and participating in the #PlasticChallenge people were really engaged,” Lehrer told CNN Business.
WNYC is one of more than 300 media outlets that have agreed to use the lead-up to the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday to elevate stories about the climate crisis. Covering Climate Now is spearheaded by progressive publication The Nation and by Columbia Journalism Review, which billed it as “the biggest effort ever undertaken to organize the world’s press around a single topic.” Soon after Climate Change Now launched in April, The Guardian also joined the effort as a “lead media partner,” and newsrooms have been signing on ever since. The partner list includes wire services, photo agencies, newspapers, magazines, digital outlets and individual journalists.
Scientists and media watchdogs have long criticized news outlets for failing cover the climate crisis prominently.