Broadcasters and television producers from across the Asia Pacific region paid tribute to trail-blazing TV journalist and environmental communicator Robert Lamb.
They dedicated to his memory a regional media workshop on the ‘Linkages between Ozone Depletion and Climate Change’, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 27 to 29 February 2012.
Robert Lamb, who passed away on 12 February 2012, made a large number of TV documentaries on ozone depletion and climate change, through which he demystified the science and tracked the inter-governmental politics in simple, engaging terms. In 2002, he also co-authored a global communication strategy for the Montreal Protocol that regulates chemicals that damage the ozone layer.
Tracing his illustrious trail, 14 TV producers and directors from across the Asia Pacific region this week explored the links between ozone depletion and climate change – and discussed how they can use different TV formats to communicate many facets of this story to their audiences.
Participants were drawn from public and commercial TV stations in a dozen countries, viz: Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Asia Pacific regional media workshop on the ‘Linkages between Ozone Depletion and Climate Change’ was organised by the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction Programme.
The workshop sought to deepen the media’s understanding of the urgency in reducing the production and consumption of the chemicals used in refrigeration and air-conditioning which are potent greenhouse gases. Asian countries are the main producers and consumers of HCFCs, which governments have agreed to phase out by 2030.
“AIBD is very glad to have collaborated with UNEP to bring together producers from some of the leading TV broadcasters in the Asia Pacific region to share information about ozone depletion and climate change. Our challenge is to mobilize the airwaves to communicate these two important issues to billions of viewers,” said Mr. Yang Binyuan, Director, AIBD.
Anne Fenner, Information Manager at UNEP OzonAction Programme, said: “Journalists and broadcasters are key multipliers of information on ozone layer protection. Their partnership is vital in reaching out to policy makers, industry and the public.”
The workshop was co-facilitated by the UNEP OzonAction Team, together with two experienced science journalists drawn from the region: Nalaka Gunawardene, Director of TVE Asia Pacific and Kunda Dixit, Editor of the Nepali Times.
Nalaka, who worked with Robert Lamb on the 2002 global communication strategy, listed many useful tips he had learnt working with Robert for over 15 years.
“Ozone depletion was a story that Robert covered for over 25 years – one where he could eventually report that humanity turning the corner,” Nalaka said. “His approach to this complex topic was to be informed by the latest science, but not allow the TV programmes to be too technical. He used good visual metaphors, clever graphics and simple narration to chronicle the evolving ozone and climate stories.”
Nalaka’s presentation to the workshop:
Among the several TV programmes screened during the workshop was The 21 Gigatonne Timebomb, the last TV programme Robert Lamb made on ozone/climate issues. It was part of the Nature Inc third series, first broadcast on BBC World News in May 2011. Watch the entire film online
World TV Awards 2012: Call for Entries
AIBD and UNEP have called for entries from TV producers and video film makers anywhere in the world for a competitive award on "Preserving Ozone layer and Protecting the Earth".
This will be one of two World TV Awards to be presented during Asia Media Summit 2012 to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 29 – 30 May 2012.
The winner in Science and Environment category will receive a cash prize of US$ 5,000, a trophy and a certificate.
The deadline for programme submission is 16 April 2012.
Details on AIBD website
During the workshop, participating TV producers and journalists learnt about ozone science, the Montreal Protocol, current HCFC phase out programmes in air-conditioning, refrigeration and other industries in Asia Pacific. They also found how phasing out HCFCs ahead of schedule also provides benefits in energy efficiency and reducing global warming.
As part the learning process, they visited CycleWorld, a Malaysian company in Klang that uses HCFC-141b in the production of rigid foam. With assistance from the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund, CycleWorld is shifting to non-HCFC alternatives in the near future.
Ms Aminah Ali, Assistant Director of the National Ozone Unit at the Ministry of Environment in Malaysia, served as a resource person and shared the host country’s experience in phasing out ozone-depleting substances (ODS).
Photos courtesy: Denise Sioson, Consultant, OzonAction Branch, UNEP ROAP