Debunking the 'green fatigue' myth

I spent a lot of time last fall with multiple domestic and international clients who wished to attend the Copenhagen Climate Summit for media opportunities.

I spent a lot of time last fall with multiple domestic and international clients who wished to attend the Copenhagen Climate Summit for media opportunities. Like many others attendees, afterwards I was exhausted, and basically sick of climate change. If I was sick of it, then how must the media be feeling?

To gauge the level of green fatigue, I did some quick research of 160 media outlets. I asked wires, top-tiers, bloggers, and broadcasters worldwide two questions:

1) Is there green fatigue among your editors?

2) Which topics of interest will you cover in the first two quarters of 2010?

With a healthy 15% response rate, I analyzed the data quantitatively, as well as qualitatively. The following points highlight key conclusions:

  • Green fatigue is not a relevant problem for a majority of reporters who responded. While this is heartening, it is also important to note that a large portion of the reporters who were surveyed work exclusively for environmental/energy/green based publications or departments.
  • Europe-based reporters were much more likely to report noticing green fatigue among their editors than their American counterparts.
  • An increased emphasis on the ‘human-interest' side of green topics was noted internationally. While Copenhagen and domestic climate change policy continue to be strong issues, writers reported a shift to the ‘who' rather than the ‘what', both in looking at solutions to environmental problems and its effects on the average person.
  • Biodiversity is a burgeoning trend. Several writers labeled 2010 as “the year of biodiversity” and expressed strong interest in writing stories related to the topic.
  • Post-Copenhagen issues were of particular interest to many reporters. Issues relating to the fallout from the summit include annexing responsibilities, US-China climate relations, deforestation, and Copenhagen's effects on global oil demand, domestic policies, and the average consumer.

Mark Grundy is a VP in Edelman's CSR practice

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