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Increasing awareness about our planet

Glaciers are melting, the drought in California breaks all records and the fish stock in the North Sea has collapsed. Climate change is affecting us right now. At Schibsted we have a powerful tool to raise awareness about these issues – our media houses. Aftenposten in Norway has met the challenge.

We don’t see the change from day to day. We might observe that birds that used to visit frequently has become more rare. Or that the weather is changing. By now, most of us know that there is a climate change going on, but it might still be hard to fully grasp the impact and act differently. And it seems even harder for politicians to reach agreements on how to address the matter.

In December 2015, world leaders will make a new attempt to unite behind a global climate agreement.

To put focus on the issue, Schibsted’s Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten decided to publish a serious of multimedia stories – #klodenvår (Our Planet) – in which the paper will explain climate change, show what the solution might be and address the politics that surround the issues.

”We want to renew and strengthen journalistic priorities around the climate issue up to the international meeting in Paris”, explains Ole Mathismoen, environmental correspondent at Aftenposten who has dealt with these questions since the late eighties.

In order to do so, #klodenvår is designed for digital and mobile presentation. Mathismoen guides the readers in videos and voice-overs combined with pictures. One story is about birds.

Lista fuglestasjon. Fugleforskning. Forskning på fugler. Trekkfugler Lista fyr. Aïda López er sjef på Norges sørligste fuglestasjon. Bildet: Aïda López slipper løs en fuglekonge. Etter få minutter i merkerommet slippes fuglekongen ut av vinduet. Opplevelsen er raskt glemt før jobb i vitenskapens tjeneste starter.    

Aida López, manager at Lista light house bird station in the south of Norway.

When visiting an ornithological station, Mathismoen saw how common birds are affected both by the climate change and changes in rural landscapes. The birds arrive earlier from their winter havens and struggle to adapt to new conditions. One of the veterans at the station, Jan Erik Røer, has seen many species disappearing:

”I fear that many birds will be extinct. It makes us very sad.”

Ornithological stations all around Northern Europe are observing the same thing. The number of birds in Europe has declined by 420 million in the last 30 years. There are still hundreds of millions left, but all the curves are pointing downwards.

Now, fewer birds might not seem like the most dramatic affect of climate change. But it is something we can all observe and one sign of what is happening. The Aftenposten project shows the role our media houses can play to create knowledge about big, and sometimes overwhelming issues, by showing the smaller pieces. It helps making climate change understandable.

The multi function area in Achuar village in Peru, where villagers clean up, wash clothes and cook.

The multifunction area in Achuar village in Peru, where villagers clean up, wash clothes and cook.

In #klodenvår, Mathismoen also tells us about companies that are finding environmentally friendly solutions, and he talks to scientists and politicians. And there is the story of the Anchuar people in the Peruvian Amazonas. For 25 years they have managed to keep the oil companies away. Other tribes have seen their territory destroyed and poisoned. When Mathismoen visits the remote village, they show him the amazing nature and the live it gives.

– To us, the forrest is the world. Everything we need comes from it. We live of natures’ resources, not of money, says their leader.

A key reason to why the Anchuars are still living in their traditional way is that they have managed to stand together as one people. Watch the Anchuar people in the Peruvian Amazonas.

Aftenposten has also joined Climate Publishers Network, a collaboration between 25 media houses around the world. The members can share content about climate issue to give their readers a more complete picture up until the Paris meeting. The Guardian, India Today, Politiken and Sydney Morgan Herald are some of the newspapers involved.

Article series author Ole Mathismoen

Article series author Ole Mathismoen