Representation of Indigenous peoples in climate change reporting

2017 October 4

Belfer, E., Ford, J.D. & Maillet, M. (2017) Representation of Indigenous peoples in climate change reporting. Climatic Change. OpenAccess. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-017-2076-z

This article examines how newspapers reporting on climate change have covered and framed Indigenous peoples. Focusing on eight newspapers in Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand, we examine articles published from 1995 to 2015, and analyze them using content and framing analyses. The impacts of climate change are portrayed as having severe ecological, sociocultural, and health/safety impacts for Indigenous peoples, who are often framed as victims and “harbingers” of climate change. There is a strong focus on stories reporting on the Arctic. The lack of substantive discussion of colonialism or marginalization in the reviewed stories limits media portrayal of the structural roots of vulnerability, rendering climate change as a problem for, rather than of society. Indigenous and traditional knowledge is widely discussed, but principally as a means of corroborating scientific knowledge, or in accordance with romanticized portrayals of Indigenous peoples. Widespread disparities in the volume, content, and framing of coverage are also observed across the four nations.

 

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