- Climate change reporting in Kenya has a history that dates back several decades.
- However, it was not until the early 2000s that the media began to focus on climate change as a significant issue.
Climate change is an urgent and pressing issue for Africa, including Kenya, and as PR practitioners, we have a crucial role to play in championing the conversation around it.
The effects of climate change are widespread, affecting economic, social and environmental systems, and it is a significant challenge to the continent's economic growth, food security and human development.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events, droughts, floods and rising sea levels.
The vulnerability is due to various factors, including the continent's dependence on rain-fed agriculture, high levels of poverty and inadequate infrastructure.
PR practitioners can leverage their communication skills and expertise to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change and advocate urgent action. We can organise public campaigns, engage with the media and collaborate with other stakeholders to advocate climate action.
However, one of the challenges in communicating about climate change is the issue of communicating for science, which is a scientific concept that can be difficult for the general public to understand.
PR practitioners must find ways to communicate the science of climate change in a way that is accessible and understandable to the public by using simple language, visuals and storytelling techniques that resonate with the public.
Climate change reporting in Kenya has a history that dates back several decades. However, it was not until the early 2000s that the media began to focus on climate change as a significant issue.
Today, climate change reporting in Kenya is more frequent, with several news outlets covering climate-related stories regularly. According to the United Nations Development Programme, Kenya is experiencing the impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
The report notes that climate change is a significant threat to Kenya's economic growth and food security, particularly for rural communities that depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
PR practitioners play a critical role in shaping public perceptions, beliefs, and behaviours around climate change. We can use our skills and expertise to facilitate constructive conversations around climate change, build awareness, and inspire action among diverse audiences.
Effective communication requires an understanding of the social, cultural and economic factors that influence public attitudes and behaviour towards climate change. It also requires a commitment to communicating the science accurately and clearly and addressing any misinformation or misconceptions that may be circulating in the public domain.
The magnitude and complexity of climate change require PR practitioners to develop communication strategies that are science-based and audience-specific. Effective communication can help raise awareness, change perceptions and behaviours, and ultimately contribute to addressing the issue.
PR practitioners must prioritise science-based communication, develop targeted and audience-specific messaging, and collaborate with media outlets and other stakeholders to facilitate constructive dialogue around climate change.
As PR practitioners, we have a crucial role to play in addressing the climate change issue in Kenya and Africa. By using our skills to educate and inform the public, influence policymakers and encourage sustainable practices among individuals and organisations, we can raise awareness, change behaviours, and create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.
It is our responsibility to take action today and join the movement towards a greener, more resilient Kenya.
Corporate communications, public relations and brand expert