Photo by Emily Shaw
There should not have been a historic blizzard the weekend of my 16th birthday.
Blizzards are common during winter in my small corner of western Kansas — but never at the end of April.
As cows wandered the highway due to high drifts against fences, the snow melted away into the next 80-degree weekend. I then had a stark revelation: this was climate change.
Since the changing weather pattern startled my hometown in 2017, millions of people have suffered various life outcomes that can be traced back to a changing climate.
After observing misinformation in the media and society surrounding climate change, I knew it was necessary to communicate responsibly and effectively about climate change to our audience — paving a beautiful intersection between my Journalism major and Sustainability minor.
Regardless of one’s stance or understanding of climate change, this edition seeks to inform readers about the contributions to and consequences of climate change affecting the Pepperdine and Malibu communities.
Climate change is highly polarized, and many white evangelical Protestants do not think it is anthropogenic, or human-caused. However, refusing to cover or read about climate change only leads to more damage.
Climate change is not going away.
Not all news coverage about climate change is doom and gloom. The more people educate themselves on these issues, the better they can adapt and incite change.
Since trust in the U.S. media is at a near-low, it is important to be transparent about coverage.
Additionally, key members of Pepperdine’s administration would not sit down and have real-time interviews — a cornerstone to PGM’s interviewing policy — with the writing staff. Rather than sacrifice the integrity of these stories by including perfectly curated statements, there are transparency elements throughout the magazine describing why certain voices are missing.
Also, I would like to acknowledge the majority of the expert voices in this edition are from white individuals. This is a reflection of the environmental community and academia, which struggles to include voices outside of the white sphere. I want this edition to raise awareness about the issues themselves while acknowledging this sector of study is not as diverse as the people it affects.
Thank you to my family and advisers for listening to my rants about climate change and supporting me through this edition. The culmination of my studies would not be possible in a single and digestible magazine if it were not for their support and guidance.
To my writers, thank you for digging through mountains of research, interviewing sources outside of the Pepperdine sphere and for pushing through the adversity to complete these necessary stories.
To my staff, thank you for reading every word, being diligent with edits and stepping into new roles to appropriately represent this topic.
The articles within this special edition discuss physical phenomena, like food waste, coastal erosion and extreme weather events, while also delving into stories from people who are environmentally vulnerable and who experience climate anxiety.
These certainly are not the only ways in which climate change impacts the community. This edition, however, can serve as a starting point to create more discussion, awareness and news literacy surrounding this topic.
The purpose of this edition is not to convince readers that climate change is occurring; it is here to lay out real, impactful events that are happening and will continue to happen if action is not taken.
This is climate change.
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
Contact Ali Levens via Instagram (@journ.ali.sm) or by email: email@example.com
About the Author
Current Graphic position: Special Edition Editor
Number of semesters with the Graphic: 7
Minor: Sustainability, Multimedia Design