Climate change infuses so many aspects of our lives and changes the way we think about our relations with nonhuman animals. Critics of the media have rightly observed, however, that there has been a massive failure to connect the dots in telling such stories. Here is an example of a dot that fails to connect.
Canadians eating less meat, taking a bite out of food industry’s margins. (September 2015)
In this story published in Canada's "business" newspaper, people are eating less meat for economic reasons. I selected this one to illustrate my point but it could be n any number of news stories. Perhaps you have seen some you would like to share. The author fails to mention two important subjects concerning why people do or don't eat meat.
1) Animal agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, a connection now widely accepted as fact.
2) People have started to know about the brutal exploitation of animals in the meat industry and this may dissuade many of them from wanting to eat its products.
There are many reasons for people to eat less meat, and not all of them are about money. Some of them are about the future of the planet.
Of course, it's possible that the Globe and Mail's flagship Report on Business knows nothing about these issues. Perhaps these particular journalists have not read any of many news stories or reports that demonstrate that the relationship between animal agriculture and climate change has been known for some time. Here are some of those stories.
Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns. (2006)
A Leading Cause of Everything: One Industry That Is Destroying Our Planet and Our Ability to Thrive on It
There are many articles on this subject displaying quite a variance on the statistical findings. The range of statistics produced to document this connection is unusual and fascinating in itself. This variation is one of the research questions currently being addressed by our Digital Animalities project.
But right now, I'm in flabbergasted mode. All these stories about hurricanes... about glaciers...wildfires out of control....hundreds of species of animals becoming extinct every year.... is there something in the training of journalists in the commercial or mass media that blocks them from acknowledging the links between the stories??
Now would be a good time to start. Talking about animals means talking about climate change. Catastrophes that are killing thousands of people and animals and making their lives unlivable.
But there is another problem connecting the dots where it comes to environmental issues. To cite journalist Nick Fillmore:
Environmental groups need to work together.
"With the creation of Blue Dot, Canada has at least seven networks and 17 groups that claim to be fighting ecological collapse.
"The groups seldom, if ever, work together. In fact, they are just as likely to see other groups as rivals. They don’t tend to share campaigning information. They compete for funding. The bosses protect their own isolated empires."
For those who care about animals, for those who care about media representations of nonhuman life in the age of risk, for this who care about what animals get to live and those that must die, this is urgent. Let's work together to make these journalists and organizations connect the dots!