Media experts from the L.A. Times, the Huffington Post, Global Voices for Justice, along with representatives from UCLA’s Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, the UCLA Extension Journalism Writing program, and Office of Media Relations and Public Outreach assembled for a Journalists' Roundtable with Randa Fouad, President of the Arab Media Forum for Environment and Development.
Hosted by the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, the forum was designed to foster communication and collaboration among journalists who write about the environment and sustainability. Fouad was a guest speaker at the Institute’s Oppenheim Lecture Series seminar held at the Fowler Museum’s Lenart Auditorium the previous evening.
Gary Polakovic, president of Make Over Earth, a public affairs firm specializing in environment and energy issues, moderated the roundtable. He began with a brief review of the 2011 political uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya and asked Fouad to elaborate on the environmental justice component of the Arab Spring.
Fouad talked about using the press to raise environmental consciousness and to help pressure decision-makers to make changes to improve the environment. She discussed “transferring” the voice of the people to influence legislation and promote a vision of sustainability. Fouad noted that the environment is linked to other social and economic issues and should not be viewed as a separate issue.
The group reflected on the power of social media, the importance of visual communication, how non-fiction artistic expression can spread the message of environmentalism, and how awareness-raising is most effectively accomplished by creating interesting, stimulating content.
The roundtable concluded with Fouad citing how the citizens in Egypt cleaned up after the protests—demonstrating, in a very tangible way, their concern for the environment.