A practical guide to reporting on loss of biodiversity

    | June 22, 2009

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    Biodiversity is a commonly-used short form for “biological diversity,” meaning the variety of plant and animal life. Factors such as human land use and climate change can reduce biodiversity. But what does this mean for your community and your listeners?

    A new guide, published by the International Institute for Environment and Development, offers pointers on how to report on the loss of biodiversity and its implications. Loss of biodiversity affects communities the world over, but the issue is currently under-reported, partly because scientists and policymakers haven’t communicated the issues in effective and relevant ways. Better, more meaningful stories can be told by showing people that they are part of biodiversity and by demonstrating how losses of biodiversity can affect them.

    The guide encourages journalists to avoid disaster narratives and “flat, one-sided” stories. It stresses that balanced appraisals, probing different angles, and asking hard questions are keys to good reporting on biodiversity issues. A number of angles can make biodiversity relevant – for example, how it links with health, money and, politics.

    The full guide can be found online, here: http://www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/17037IIED.pdf.