Wednesday, 29 September 2010

With global warming perhaps we need constant repetition

When the media keep pretending day after day that something is news by giving constant updates it is bound to eventually get into the public's mind that the information is important. If it was not so why would they keep telling us about it?
Thus the vague view that most people have that the level of the stock exchange index today compared with yesterday or last week or last year or 10 years ago actually matters. Ditto for the foreign exchange rate or the official interest rate. Newspapers, radio and television keep giving daily reports on them all. Therefore, QED, we should be pleased or worried about them.
Complete nonsense really. The figures reported so breathlessly on the hour every hour every day indicate nothing of value to ordinary people. The main reason they began being reported was to fill in the media's insatiable desire for regular content.
Only with the dull thud of repetition have they become factors in the political process where a rising value of the Australian dollar against the US dollar is portrayed as a sign of national strength rather than as a symbol of a social change that will force the closure of Australian factories with a consequent loss of manufacturing jobs. The idea that things that go up are good while things that go down are bad is too deeply ingrained for the truth to be realised.
This power of repeating a basic, if sometimes irrelevant, message is something that the worriers about climate change  have not yet realised. These good and earnest people can repeat all they like their generalised warnings about the dangers of rising world temperatures but it means nothing when the public do not have it rammed home to them regularly in a way that is easily understood.
What is needed is a picture to appear alongside the the daily media weather reports that illustrates what is happening to global temperatures. A daily version of something like this:

Now I know that some of the experts in the field of climate change measurement have some reservations about this particular daily chart but to me it is something like this that that they can agree on that all of them should be lobbying to have appear every day throughout the world alongside the weather map
It is only when ordinary voters are persuaded that global warming is a reality that politicians will be prepared to take the actions necessary to prevent it.
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