"Fake news on social media about climate change and biodiversity loss is having
a worrying impact in the battle to halt the growing environmental threats to
the planet, a group of scientists and analysts have warned.
In a report published by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, they say
measures needed to create a healthier, more resilient planet – by reducing
fossil fuel emissions, overfishing and other threats – will be hard to enforce
if they continue to suffer targeted attacks in social media. The international
cooperation that is needed to halt global heating and species loss could
otherwise be jeopardised, they say.
“Social media reports have created a toxic environment where it’s now very
difficult to distinguish facts from fiction,” said one author, Owen Gaffney, of
the Stockholm Resilience Centre. “One of the biggest challenges now facing
humanity is our inability to tell fact from fiction. This is undermining
democracies, which in turn is limiting our ability to make long-term decisions
needed to save the planet.”
This view was supported by the report’s lead author, Professor Carl Folke,
director of Sweden’s Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. “Improvements
are occurring – we are getting a lot of promises from big nations about
tackling environmental threats – but the media still causes polarisation of
views and that is not helpful. We need to tackle that.”
The group’s report is published on Monday as a background paper to the first
Nobel Prize Summit, which will be held next month, on the subject “Our Planet,
Our Future”. Originally scheduled to take place in Washington last year, the
meeting was postponed because of Covid-19. This time it will be held – from 26
to 28 April – as a virtual event."
Via Glyn Moody, who wrote "facebook is destroying our world"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics