Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate's Open Letter to the Media

Dear media editors all over the globe,
Wildfires and melting glaciers, as well as droughts, heatwaves, flooding, hurricanes, and deadly heatwaves can all be seen. These are all signs of a unstable planet that are occurring around us constantly.

These are the kinds of things that you should be reporting on. Sometimes. But the climate crisis is more than this. You must cover the core issues of time, justice, and holistic thinking if you are to really cover the climate crisis.

What does this mean? Let's take a look at each of these issues.

The notion of time. If you don't include the idea of a ticking time in your stories, the climate crisis will be a political issue among other topics. It is something we can buy, build, or invest to solve. We can keep going as we are today, and then solve the problems later. 2030, 2050, or 2060. Based on the best science available, it is clear that our carbon budget to keep below 1.5C at our current emissions rate will soon run out by the end of this decade.

A second, holistic thinking. To calculate our carbon budget, we must count all numbers and include all our emissions. You are currently allowing high-income nations and large polluters to get away with it, by allowing them to hide behind incomplete statistics, loopholes, and rhetoric that they have worked so hard to create over the past 30 years.

The third and most important aspect of justice is the last. It's not just about extreme weather. It's about people. It's about people. The climate crisis is affecting the poorest people. The Global South is at the forefront of the climate crisis but it is rarely featured in the news. While the media in Western countries tends to focus on flooding in Europe or California wildfires, climate-related disasters in the Global South are not covered as much.

You cannot ignore the moral responsibility of the Global North to reduce their emissions faster, and this is the element that must be included in justice. The world will have exhausted 89% of its carbon budget by the end of 2011, giving us 66% chance to stay below 1.5C.

This is why historical emissions are not only important, but also at the heart of the climate justice debate. Yet, the media and those in power continue to ignore historical emissions.

We need to reduce our annual emissions by drastic measures. This will ensure that we stay below the Paris Agreement targets and minimize the risk of triggering irreversible chain reactions. We don't have the technology solutions to do this in the near future. This means that fundamental changes must be made in society. This is the unfortunate result of our leaders' failure to address this crisis.

It is your responsibility to correct this failure. We are social animals. If our leaders and media don't act as though we're in crisis, then we won't be able to understand why. A functioning democracy has a free press that informs citizens about the major challenges facing society. The media must hold those in power accountable for their actions or inactions.

Yours is our last hope. We are the only ones who have the ability and opportunity to reach so many people in such a short time. Without you, we cannot accomplish this. Climate crisis will only get worse. It is possible to avoid the worst, and we can still reverse this trend. We can't continue to do the same thing as we are today. There are many resources and options that can change the story in a matter of hours.

It is up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to take on that challenge. History will decide what you do.

Greta and Vanessa

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