The media have ignored climate change for too long. We need to build our own alternatives

Environmental reporting can't be confined to hosting climate change deniers or occasional summits. We have to move it up the agenda.

By population, the UK is one of the world’s main polluters. But we rank near the very bottom of the league tables in terms of how much coverage climate change and green issues get (with rare exceptions like when the weather is ‘unseasonably nice’).

Contrast that with the fact that if global temperatures rise above 1.5 degrees, we’re in for all kinds of trouble. It’s a worrying picture.

The lack of attention given to green issues has major implications for how and whether it gets on the political agenda. Hint: when the media barons don’t care, often the government don’t either.

From the beginning, Left Foot Forward has understood that climate change is political. And that the rest of the media will do a lot to avoid covering it.

We see it as a public duty to report on our environment: covering the unequivocal evidence of climate change, campaigns putting green issues on the agenda, providing a platform for grassroots activists and green-minded politicians alike.

Over the past year, we’ve tried to ramp this up even more. We’re not stopping if we can help it.

We have led the way in covering the Taxpayers Alliances campaign against clean air. We’ve followed the secretively-funded right wing lobby group as they try to scupper clean air zones in Southampton and Bath – putting both residents health and our planet in danger.

We’re proud to have the former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales Natalie Bennett as one of our regular columnists, giving us the inside story from global climate talks to fracking and the fashion industry’s excesses.

When the Extinction Rebellion protests began, we were one of the first to cover them, speaking to ex-RAF technician Steve Masters about why he got involved. Now they’re planning a Spring Rebellion, a story (you guessed it) we got to first.

And when young people walked out of climate inaction and were patronised by much of the media, we gave them a voice too. That’s both a moral duty and a point of pride for LFF as a progressive platform.

We’re proud to cover environmental activism across the parties – including a Green Party largely locked out of the media. And we provide a forum for debate over how campaigners should frame our messages. (“Target the villains” was one conclusion).

Talking of villains, while other outlets let them on unchallenged, we shine a light on climate-change deniers like Nigel Lawson and their lobbying – while celebrating those pushing to be bolder and braver in dealing with the crisis. Last week we revealed that the Lib Dems’ climate change spokesperson is pushing for policy change in her party over zero-carbon targets.

On fracking, we revealed that energy minister Claire Perry was sending out pro-fracking “mythbusters” to the public. We asked Friends of the Earth what they thought of this document. They thoroughly debunked it. And we revealed the frontlines of where climate chaos will hit the UK.

This is just a small selection of the work we can do on a shoe-string budget. Sadly, that’s all at risk if we don’t raise the £10,000 we need to keep LFF alive and thriving.

We need more radical, green journalism, not less. Please support our crowdfunder today and help us fight the tide of climate change denial and environmental negligence. Thanks for your support.

Joe Lo is a freelance journalist and reporter for Left Foot Forward. Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward.

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