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RNZ Pacific

The media has been taken to task for doom-laden climate crisis presentations in a speech at an international workshop — and told to tell the full story.

Former Marshall Islands president Hilda Heine made the comments as the keynote speaker at the recent East West Centre’s international media conference in Hawai’i.

She said the media could sharpen people’s awareness about climate change, but too often the audience was overwhelmed with the problem, while there was little discussion of the solutions.

This could leave the public with an overall sense of powerlessness, she said, and suggested media should also uncover stories about sustainability.

“For example, in the dry and frequently drought-ridden northern Marshall Islands, families there place high value on sun-dried food preservation processes — for seafood as well as seasonal local food plants, including pulp from the pandanus fruit — we call it nogun.”

Pandanus fruit
Pandanus fruit is a staple in Marshall Islands. Image: RNZ

Heine said that when dried over several days nogun becomes a healthy sweet snack that can last for months, and was useful for long ocean voyages across the Marshall Islands.

Sustainable practices were living examples of positive human interaction with the planet, and publicising positive sustainable practices could help change the planet, she said.

“They tell us it is possible to never exploit labour and land. There are numerous other practices, and it takes the media to scale up such practices by widely disseminating the knowledge to others.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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