I started National Observer 20 months ago, in response to a lack of coverage of climate and environmental issues in Canada. As a business person, I saw a gap which meant an opportunity. As a journalist, I saw an epic story, perhaps the most important of this time.
The stakes have just gotten higher: catastrophic weather, mass natural disasters, humanitarian tragedies on a planetary scale.
And all of it in the hands of elected officials, elected and supported in democratic nations by people like me and you. What do do about it? How to move forward?
As a journalist, I look for the story in all of that, to illuminate the problem, to point towards solutions.
When it comes to the solutions, the scale is daunting: our economy’s wholesale transition from carbon to renewables. On the one hand, huge opportunities; on the other hand, massive dislocation and disruption. (As the CEO of a media company, that’s all very familiar terrain.)
And the players? Corporations wielding incredible wealth and influence. Donald Trump. Governments, including the largest in the world, many of them in lock-step with those same corporations. Social movements large and small, waxing and waning, spanning the globe full of people like you and me, or our children or grandchildren. Rex Tillerson.
So let’s not be surprised that having a conversation about this issue is loaded. Or that telling the truth, even when that truth is an indisputable fact, in this time, too often requires exceptional courage and sensitivity. Emotions run high when livelihoods and the fortunes of today clash with survival next decade or next century.
But as hard as it is, that honest conversation is necessary. Essential.
It’s the job the public counts on journalists to do and, if you’re like me, you feel betrayed when a news organization you trust fails at this task.
And that brings me to the critical role that you can play — I think you must play — in supporting journalism in Canada.
Help us build the new business model for journalism, one that is ironically also, familiar. With your help, National Observer can become financially independent through subscriptions, building a strong and loyal community around thought-provoking, factual journalism. As we innovate and learn, together, we can lead the way and pave the path for other high quality media organizations to succeed.
In an era of fake news and, please... let's together admit we can agree on this, let’s call fake news for what it is, this is urgent. It's propaganda. Lies. Disinformation. Psychological warfare. Poison to honest conversation.
Which is of course the goal.
Propaganda erodes democracy. It is very dangerous.
And, climate change denial is just another form of propaganda.
It’s a lethal strain.
Pretending as if experts haven’t already, years before, agreed on the science of climate change, as 97% of the experts have, is dangerous, life-threatening.
You have to tell yourself a helluva good story to sleep at night and tell such dangerous lies.
Truth is the opposite. Truth is real. Truth is fundamental to accountability and to democracy. Getting at the truth is what journalists do every day, reporting and reflecting events back with accuracy and precision.
It's up to you and me. There’s no one else to do it, other than us, together.
We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for.
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