Sadly we are all used to hearing about threats being made to people who are in the public eye who speak about ‘unpopular’ or ‘controversial’ facts such as the reality of climate change. But often this barrage of negativity is not the complete picture.
Chris Gloninger, “chief meteorologist and weather reporter for CBS affiliate KCCI in Des Moines” who for two years worked “to weave climate science into his weather coverage in a deeply conservative area of the country” decided to quit “in part because of the “vicious” and “cruel” messages he was consistently receiving—including a barrage from a man who threatened to show up at his house and kill him”
“Fearing a drop in ratings, the station asked Gloninger to limit his climate coverage, which he says he refused to do. So the negative responses kept pouring in, and eventually, last month, Gloninger resigned, citing PTSD and family health issues.”
But the truth of the situation is more complex than it looks at first glance - turns out that after he said he was going to leave he received 262 emails “from viewers expressing positive feedback for his work”. He said in an interview with HEATED that if he had known about this support he would likely have considered staying on the job.
What does Gloninger suggest that those who want to support those speaking truthfully about climate change do? “If people who enjoyed his climate coverage had matched the energy of those who hated it, Glonginger said, he would have had a stronger case to make to his superiors—and to himself—that the negativity was worth enduring.”
Gloninger goes on to say “‘This is my call to action for everyone who wants to see more climate coverage on local news,’ he said. ‘If you hear somebody talking about climate change, follow them. Call the station. Write in. Do what the 11 percent [of climate deniers] are really good at doing, because there are people doing it, and when you get that satisfaction and gratitude from people, more people would be encouraged to do it. Less people would be afraid to talk about it.’”
What could you be doing to support those speaking truth to power when it comes to climate change in your community? Do you have a local climate hero you admire - pen them a quick email or share their social media with friends and family. Let’s overwhelm the toxic and frightening negativity and threats with a wave of genuine admiration and solidarity.