Global reach and engagement
- Journal name:
- Nature Climate Change
- Year published:
- Published online
In another example of what could emerge from the melting ice, a study has been published regarding an abandoned cold war base beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet6. Camp Century was a US military base built within the ice sheet in northwest Greenland that was abandoned in 1967. Little effort was made to decommission and remove waste when it was deserted as its location within the ice sheet was expected to lock it away for eternity. Now, using business-as-usual scenarios, the authors predict that the base may be uncovered in the next 75 years, leading to remobilization of liquid waste left behind and potential political ramifications of dealing with these issues.
While cli-fi might be playing catch up with other genres, climate change does have some high-profile advocates from popular culture. Leonardo DiCaprio, in his acceptance speech for his first Oscar, spoke of climate change and his direct experience of it while filming The Revenant — the role that lead to his best actor award. While he has spoken on environment issues in the past, this was an event with global coverage garnering a broader reach. Recent research7 looks at the impact of DiCaprio's acceptance speech on the media coverage, tweets and Google searches of 'climate change' or 'global warming'. While traditional media studied showed little change, there were over 250,000 related tweets that day — a 636% increase on expectations. Furthermore, web searches increased 261%, and remained elevated for 4 days. This level of engagement was around four times greater than that seen in the daily averages during the Conference of the Parties Paris meeting in late 2015, or on Earth Day in April 2015.
On an even bigger stage, climate change was featured in the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics — with an estimated audience of three billion people. The presentation highlighted the links between global atmospheric carbon dioxide and increasing planetary temperature, presented using the recent viral spiral8, and the subsequent melting of polar regions and associated sea-level rise.
The effect of having such high profile commentary on the issue is positive, as it delivers the message to an audience that may not engage with climate change otherwise. Such engagement is vital: increased awareness is essential if societal change is to occur.
- Tundra ablaze as reindeer carcasses infected with deadly anthrax are incinerated. The Siberian Times (05 August 2016).
- Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 97 (State of the Climate in 2015 special supplement), S149–S152 (2016); http://go.nature.com/2bk0xL8 et al.
- Nature http://doi.org/bnt2 (2014).
- Climate threat: thawing tundra releases infected corpses. Livescience (26 March 2008).
- Nature http://doi.org/bnt4 (2014).
- Geophys. Res. Lett. http://doi.org/bnt5 (2016). et al.
- PLoS ONE e0159885 (2016). et al.
- Nature Clim. Change 6, 657 (2016).