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Third Report of the Citizens' Assembly: Discussion (Resumed)

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

"Most of the questions have been answered. It is interesting because I come from a part of the country where the only safe topic for discussion is the weather. It is the one non-political issue about which someone can talk with a stranger.

I would like to pick up on one point with the director general of RTÉ. I was interested when she said RTÉ had a 94% penetration rate, which is fantastic. RTÉ has fantastic access to the public. She also went on to say there was no substitute for public information campaigns. Millions were put into informing the public in the United Kingdom about our impact on the climate and the environment and Sir David Attenborough's programme "The Blue Planet" had more of an impact than anything that had gone before. Is it time to look at the issue differently? We are judged thoroughly in the court of public opinion, by populist opinion and especially by what comes out of the mouths of those regarded as popular. I hate to use the word "celebrity". Is there a better way to communicate with the general public to tell them what individuals could do differently to have an impact and make a difference in dealing with climate change? Sir David Attenborough did that and we now all look differently at our use of plastics. People aged eight years to 80 have changed their behaviour after the broadcasting of "The Blue Planet".

"To pick up on Deputy Dooley's point, climate change is a reality, but the challenge is to make it a reality for the general public. Considering Met Éireann's positioning within RTÉ's scheduling, is there an opportunity to use sound bites to highlight the behavioural changes people could make that would make a difference? Rather than having a big advertising campaign, there would be a continual drip, a daily feed, of information through short, sharp sound bites about the need for behavioural change. Is that a possibility?"

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