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April 23th, 2021

To Treena Wood and CBC News B.C.,

Tomorrow, members of Extinction Rebellion Vancouver will occupy the intersection of Hamilton and Georgia, outside CBC’s Vancouver headquarters. We are calling on CBC News to report with urgency on the existential threat of human-caused climate change.

During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen what emergency communication looks like - and we know it’s possible for the media and government to deliver it. Yet our most prominent journalistic institutions, including CBC News B.C., are failing in their responsibility to report the news, as they continue to cover the climate and ecological emergency as if it is an afterthought rather than an existential threat.

For example: On April 22nd CBC Radio One reported on Prime Minister Trudeau’s new climate targets, emphasizing how difficult and “unrealistic” the revised targets would be. Yet the broadcast did not even mention the facts of the matter: comparing these revised targets with 1) what the IPCC says is necessary to stay within 1.5 degrees warming, 2) Canada’s actual policies (which have seen GHGs actually increase since the Paris agreement). This misleading and negligent reporting is far from being exceptional.

CBC News needs to demonstrate journalistic integrity by creating stronger editorial guidelines that integrate the climate and ecological crisis into all of its news reporting. While CBC News reports on the science of climate change occasionally, the magnitude and impact is not being reflected adequately in the coverage. By ignoring the scientific facts in political coverage, as in the example above, CBC News is misleading its audience and providing cover for the government’s continued lack of accountability on climate action.

We demand that CBC News tell the truth about the climate & ecological emergency and act as if it is real. That means:

  1. Climate and ecology headlines daily. Climate and ecology everywhere: every beat, every story. A daily climate and ecological emergency newscast on all platforms – digital, TV and radio – that educates and informs Canadians about the urgency of the problem

  2. Solutions-journalism approach, highlighting what can be done to solve the crisis.

  3. Using climate emergency language that reflects the urgency of the crisis.

  4. Dedication to reporting on the activism and advocacy efforts of Canadians who are rising up against the Canadian government for its ecocidal systems.

The facts are overwhelming, and the science is clear. CBC needs to stop hiding behind the pretense of false balance and accurately report the science of the emergency and the story of the struggle of Canadians for life on the planet. Without strong climate action, the current path will tip us into civilizational collapse, according to Sir David Attenborough and the Secretary General of the United Nations.

CBC’s journalists, editors, and executives need to recognise the higher purpose of their profession and duties as citizens and human beings.

This is what your audience demands.

With Love and Rage,

Extinction Rebellion Vancouver