Jason Lee / The Sun News via AP

Carolinas - 'Beyond the Beach' Project Exposes Climate Change Dangers

The COVID-19 pandemic is a fast-motion version of the slow-moving disaster unfolding because of global warming, but the two world-wide threats are getting sharply differing responses.

The world has reacted to the pandemic with alarm, shutdowns and a massive united scientific effort to find treatments and a vaccine. Climate change will cost more lives and cause more economic damage than the pandemic – and it can’t be stopped with a vaccine – but it has not yet provoked a response equal to the urgency of its threat.

The disparity reflects the perception of the dangers. COVID-19’s toll is as clear as 1 million dead. Climate change’s impact is harder to measure and easier to ignore. And some U.S. leaders, starting with the president, do ignore it.

That lack of attention should challenge journalists to do more to define the threat of climate change in ways that the public can see. Creating wider public understanding will build a basis for the broad government and private actions needed to slow the catastrophic warming of the planet.

To that end, a remarkable journalistic project has made the threat clear in the Carolinas. The seven-part series recently published by The News & Observer and distributed to McClatchy newsrooms in the Southeast, is titled: “Danger Beyond the Beach: Climate change and its toll on health in the Carolinas.”

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