Social Change

Governance Arrangements to Combat Disinformation

There are a rapidly growing number of governance arrangements that seek to counter disinformation. Battles have ensued as opposing stakeholders vie to influence public discourse. The application of an overlapping four-stage analytical framework reveals major challenges in the fight against disinformation. While an evaluation of the effectiveness of these governance arrangements shows mixed results, best practices are emerging which offer a promising roadmap. The problem of (climate) disinformation and social media Disinformation is as old as civilization and it has been a problem since the advent of written language. However, the rise of social media has exponentially accelerated its reach....

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Top 100 Approaches to Bust Disinformation

This summary of the top 100 tools, techniques, strategies, and resources to combat disinformation is divided into six categories: Education, government, influencers, journalism/media, techniques, and technological solutions. Education • Inserting factually accurate information in a stream chat or in place of the removed content. This idea is being similarly accepted by governmental agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. (Lonstein, 2020).• Teach analytic thinking and actively open-minded thinking are associated with updating beliefs in response to corrections (Martel et al, 2020)• Help social media users with educational efforts that differentiate between real information and disinformation• Climate education (Hess and Collins,...

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The Urgent Need for Immediate Climate Action

As our window of opportunity to act is rapidly closing, an ever-increasing stream of warnings is adding urgency to calls for climate action. Year after year we have set new high-temperature records and we are rapidly approaching the upper threshold temperature limit laid out in the Paris Agreement. Repeated warnings have called us to recognize that we are on the cusp of the end of civilization. New reports confirm that humanity is in the process of destroying civilization. One such state of the planet report is titled, "Our future in the Anthropocene biosphere".The report says that in just over half a century...

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Earth Day 2021: Biden’s Climate Summit and Action to Restore Our Earth

On Earth Day President Joe Biden is convening a historic two-day virtual climate summit that heralds the return of the United States to the forefront of the climate fight. On April 20-22, Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will come together with 38 other world leaders to discuss global efforts to address climate change. The summit will include all 17 leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate who together are responsible for about 80 percent of global emissions and GDP. It also includes the heads of countries that are especially vulnerable to climate...

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Conservative Climate Disinformation and the False Gods of Capitalism

Despite the clear scientific consensus, Climate change denial is being kept alive by conservatives. In the United States, this is evident in the major gulf separating Republicans and Democrats. Such divisions are also present in Canada and Australia. At the Canadian Conservative convention in March, delegates refused to support a policy shift that would have acknowledged climate change. Even when conservative leaders try to pivot away from climate change denial, the rank and file refuse to follow. So what is it about conservatives in the U.S., Canada, and Australia that makes them such passionate deniers of reality?   The one thing that conservatives...

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Disinformation: Deception that Delayed Climate Action

We live in a world awash with disinformation and fake news. Social media platforms divide people and put them into partisan echo chambers moving them away from fact-based journalism and funneling them towards sources of information that confirm their biases. For decades sophisticated climate disinformation campaigns have concealed the facts and sown doubt about the science. Lobbyists paid for by the fossil fuel industry have deliberately deceived the public about the climate impacts of coal, oil, and gas. Billions have been spent on multi-faceted disinformation initiatives designed to undermine consensus. Traditional energy interests have colluded with the GOP to erode...

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Women’s Day is also Sustainability Day: How Gender Equality Buoys Climate Action

In recognition of International Women's Day, we honor the sustainability efforts of women all around the globe. This is a day for everyone, as Gloria Steinem once explained, women's day is not just for women, it is for those who care about human rights. This is an occasion to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day is also an opportunity to expose inequality and advance gender parity. The theme this year is "choose to challenge" which promotes change that leads to greater equality between the sexes.   As revealed by the UN, Women’s empowerment and advancing gender...

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America’s Most Popular Purveyor of Climate Disinformation is Dead

Rush Limbaugh died on February 17, 2021, and in the wake of his passing, some lauded him as a patriot, while many others decried his hateful and divisive speech. The conservative radio personality, pundit, and author was a pioneering purveyor of disinformation who defined the brand of far-right media commentators.  He was well known for feeding his fans a steady diet of racism and sexism. He called President Barack Obama a "magical negro" and he once told a black caller to "remove the bone from her nose". In many respects, he set the stage for Donald Trump, who led the most destructive...

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Climate Action: Why We May Finally Do What Needs to be Done

To avoid a climate disaster we need to eliminate heat-trapping greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  With less than a decade* to significantly draw down emissions the window of opportunity to act is rapidly closing. While this is a serious crisis it is not getting the urgent attention it demands. However, with consorted efforts from governments, businesses, and civil society we still have time to avert a civilization-altering calamity.  As reflected in the GHG data we are facing an imminent crisis. Ever-rising concentrations of the three main GHGs are largely responsible for climate change. We have seen increases in carbon dioxide (CO₂), the principle...

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Disinformation is the Most Pressing Global Sustainability Issue

Disinformation is the most pressing global sustainability issue in the world today. By eroding shared acceptance of facts, disinformation makes consensus building around key sustainability issues exceedingly difficult. The unholy alliance between industry, conservative politicians and right-wing media has caused disinformation to spread like the wildfires that have become commonplace in an ever-warmer world. We face many sustainability challenges including the UN's 16 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, disinformation has prevented millions of people from heeding what should be a clear call to address existential global threats like climate change and biodiversity loss. This is the reason that we have not been...

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