Climate Change "Climate change is on everyone's lips" (photo:CleanTechnica/Sandy Dechert)

Published on March 20th, 2014 | by Sandy Dechert


Climate Change Is On Everyone’s Lips

March 20th, 2014 by  

"Climate change is on everyone's lips" (photo:CleanTechnica/Sandy Dechert)
Climate change is #1. When we say that, we don’t mean we’re all cheering for global warming. We mean the subject tops the list of the most important underreported issues in the world today—at least according to news aggregation site Upworthy.

Joe Romm of ThinkProgress says the topic huge number of readers chose by an overwhelming margin was climate change:

Last month, Upworthy asked readers “what you felt were the most important topics: the big issues of our day that deserve more focus and attention than they generally receive in the media.” The response was overwhelming: “In the couple of days the poll was open, tens of thousands of you from all across the country and world chimed in to vote. Many of you even gave us personal and moving reasons for your choices.”

As a result, Upworthy is turning more emphatically toward coverage of environmental news:

To help bone up on climate change and clean energy issues, we’ll be partnering with the good folks at Climate Nexus. Chock-full of environmental science experts, reporters, public affairs specialists, and documentary filmmakers, Climate Nexus already does excellent work in telling the story of our climate in new and clever ways. We’re excited about putting our heads together to think of even bigger and bolder ways to bring attention to one of the most pressing issues facing our planet.

Reporting the story, Romm twice disses “stagnant old media outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post.” Note, however, that almost everybody over 30 gives them more credibility than BuzzFlash or (heaven forbid!) Upworthy itself, including the ginormous graying Baby Boomer bunch.

But don’t write off Upworthy as a passing fad or just a trendsetter for Millennials. Tim Graham of the conservative NewsBusters blog pigeonholed it last weekend as “a powerful new tool in the Left’s social-media sandbox readership.” That readership packs quite a punch. The site’s February traffic hit more than 20 million per week, according to the Quantcast traffic-measuring firm.

Upworthy started publishing less than two years ago, and already it has twice as much impact as BBC World or The New York Times, according to some sources. It leaves Yahoo! News in the dust by a factor of more than 3:1.

So, when somebody starts mouthing off about climate change as a dead issue, you now have a pretty powerful comeback.

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About the Author

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

  • Alen

    Rupert Murdoch, knock some climate sense into him and maybe the ‘oldies’ will finally believe it’s not a big conspiracy and hoax

  • Michael Berndtson

    Speaking of New York Times, there’s an excellent article in last week’s Sunday Magazine that should be a must read by all those that think technology will solve this climate change problem:

    “Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem”

    The snippet from the front page: “In start-up land, the young barely talk to the old (and vice versa). That makes for a lot of cool apps. But great technology? Not so much.” By YIREN LU, MARCH 12, 2014

    The article is about Silicon Valley culture, not climate change. Here’s my distillation of the wonderful article: Our countries brain power is being wasted on silly things.

    Continuing with my rant (not the authors), we as a country are not addressing the immediate problem at hand. That would be climate change: defining the problem, addressing the problem, and developing a number solutions – ranging from political to technical. A single silly super cool technology is not going to solve this – which is what many of our esteemed tech libertarians think. As we are finding out, our tech libertarians from Gates to Zuckerberg are not that bright and heavily dependent on governmental support. Be it federal sales of their products or NSA contracts.

    An even more dire example from my background is the wasted grey matter sitting in the environmental engineering business. Climate change isn’t being addressed. Basically because there’s no paying customers, yet. Many of the large engineering and scientific consulting firms are making money, “knocking it down and building it up.” For example, companies have Alberta tar sands in situ extraction operations services divisions on the knocking it down side and civil/geotechnical engineering divisions on the building it back up side. The second division sells themselves at experts in coastal engineering and post storm emergency response.

    Back on the topic of my comment (post rant). The author, Yiren Lu seems to have a technical background and was headed to Silicon Valley like many smart kids. It appears that she’s interested in becoming an author or a journalist. Her writing style and tone read more like a cranky 50+ year old than a super enthusiastic 20 something, which is probably why I enjoyed the article. I was once a super enthusiastic 20 something, too. Like all of us. Anyway, Clean Technica should bring her on board as a contributor.

    • JamesWimberley

      “Climate change isn’t being addressed.” If all US businesses took sustainability as seriously as Silicon Valley does, the country would already look like Denmark.

      • Michael Berndtson

        Silicon Valley is US business. It supplies products and services to business, governments and individuals. Not unlike other home and office products suppliers who provide spiral notebooks, overhead projectors and paperclips.

        Here’s some interesting data on Silicon Valley and sustainability. By UC Berkeley. I know Berkeley is east bay.

        Carbon Footprint Maps – it’s a new data thing and pretty cool (my thanks and appreciations to those in the Bay Area)

        Let’s go to the south bay via zip codes:

        Atherton, Calif., 94027 – 91.6 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year

        Palo Alto, Calif., 94304 – 43.2

        Now compare this to Berwyn, IL 60402 at 49.7. That’s my zipcode. And that’s for a town that requires heating for at least 6 months and cooling by around 3 months. Other towns in the Chicago area are as follows: Oak Park, 55 metric tons CO2, River Forest 64.6, and Lake Forest 85.

        There’s a really interesting correlation between wealth and carbon footprint and exurban and carbon footprint.

        • Gwennedd

          And your point is??? I don’t get the point of knowing by zip code what a place’s carbon footprint is. Surely it would be more scientific to correlate carbon footprint by the population of an area.

          • Michael Berndtson

            It’s carbon footprint per household or registration. Cool data to get lost in. My point is that carbon footprint is a good measure of both natural resource and energy use. The data looks at several metrics including utilities and transportation.

            It does point out the obvious: the more cold, wealthy or disperse a zip code is, the larger the carbon footprint. This should help with planning very nicely, going forward.

        • Rick Kargaard

          The wealthy tend to use a larger share of the worlds resources. Nothing wrong with that if they are recycled. Fossil fuels are burned and can not be recovered.
          It is not very smart to use a valuable and non renewable rsource for fuel.

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