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close this bookBiodiversity in the Western Ghats: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1994, 224 p.)
close this folder9. Appreciating and conserving biodiversity
View the document9.1 Biodiversity and the media
View the document9.2 Role of non-government organizations in conservation
View the document9.3 Watershed management
View the document9.4 Energy conservation and alternatives
View the document9.5 Nature trails
View the document9.6 Sacred groves
View the document9.7 Rehabilitation of iron ore mine wasteland in Goa
View the document9.8 Reforestation to restore mining areas
View the document9.9 Mining: Social and environmental impacts
View the document9.10 Resource utilization in Uttar Kannada district
View the document9.11 Biodiversity of Dudhsagar valley

9.1 Biodiversity and the media

The conservation movement is a movement for the people, by the people and of the people. But how to reach the people? National, state and local governments have been slow to respond. Media, both print and electronic, have a major role to play.

Environmental education, awareness and training play a vital role in evolving strategies for conservation protection and management of environment. The media can help build public awareness on actions they can take, for instance, tree planting and people-oriented strategies to regenerate India's wastelands.

The mass media are not the only methods: seminars, workshops, rallies, training courses, public meetings, padayatras, exhibitions, essay contests, debates, paintings and poster competitions, folk dances and street theatres need to be organized at regular intervals to spread the message of conservation.


Biodiversity and the media

Despite the importance of environmental issues, the media pay them scant attention. The coverage is often distorted, unscientific and negative, aimed at creating an issue to sell the paper. This situation needs to be corrected through training and motivation.

Journalists are key gatekeepers in the information dissemination process. There is a need to educate and motivate them in environmental concepts and in local and regional issues.

A common complaint is that information in the media is incorrect. Often the coverage is based on press releases issued by the interested parties for their own motives. Reporters must be aware of the dangers of such manipulation. Sound interaction among official agencies, NGOs, nature clubs, scientists and the media can ensure that accurate information is published.

NGOs can help ensure accuracy in the media's coverage by establishing a syndicated feature service to disseminate stories. Newspaper "stringers" (part-time reporters) should be given guidelines on how to cover environment-related stories and encouraged to seek out such stories. Broadcast media should be encouraged to record on location in the field rather than in the studio. The media should report activities of interest and related to the community.

Methods of promoting conservation

Survey of flora, fauna, forests, wildlife

Surveys

Environmental impact assessment

Eco-regeneration

Assistance to organizations implementing environmental and forestry programmes

Environmental legislation

Formulation of environmental policies

Research

Extension, education and staff training

Dissemination of environmental information

International cooperation

Creation of public awareness on the environment

Prepared by Jagdish Wagh