If you felt like this summer was off to an especially warm start, you were right. According to NASA, June 2016 was the warmest June on record. NASA reports that the leading cause of this record-breaking heat wave is the increased level of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, also known as climate change.
Oscar-winning actor and self-declared environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio recognizes the threat of climate change and has made this issue a priority over the past few years. Dedicating his personal Instagram account to sharing important information about climate change is one of the many initiatives he has taken. His account regularly posts straightforward content that shows how climate change is affecting all parts of the world, highlights conservation efforts and outlines ways that his followers can help.
#Regram #RG @nasaclimatechange: April and May 2016 set new global temperature records for those two months, continuing a trend of the previous six months, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). The global temperature for April was 1.96 °F (1.09 °C) warmer than the average for April from 1951 to 1980, which is used as a base period. The global temperature for May was 1.67 °F (0.93 °C) warmer than the May base period. Every month since October 2015 has broken the record for that month. GISS director Gavin Schmidt estimated a greater than 99 percent probability that 2016 as a whole will set a new heat record. However, it is unlikely that this streak of record-breaking months will last much longer because those months owe their extra-high temperatures to El Niño. With that phenomenon gone for now, it is unlikely that the next several months will be chart-toppers. But even if it doesn’t set records in the near term, the ever-increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is gradually heating the planet. GISS scientist Reto Ruedy estimates that this slow and steady global warming will catch up with the El Niño spike we just experienced in about 10 to 15 years. Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center. #nasa #globalwarming #climatechange #heat #elniño #record #science #earthrightnow
In addition to educating his 9 million followers, DiCaprio’s Instagram account serves as an example of how to communicate a strong message through social media. It also serves as a reminder that it is possible for individuals and organizations to effectively educate the public about controversial information without being provocative. Below are a few lessons I’ve learned from following his account:
1. Consistently share interesting and important content from reputable sources.
Sharing and citing information from trusted and recognized sources adds credibility to any account, and it helps if the content is both interesting and important. According to an Ipsos study, 61 percent of social media users around the world seek to share interesting content and 43 percent seek to share important content.
2. Limit (or avoid) commentary on scientific facts.
Often times, commentary provokes a debate. By presenting non-disputable, scientific information, readers are able to absorb the facts in their entirety. Instagram makes this easy, as it gives users the opportunity to repost content. DiCaprio frequently uses this option to allow factual information from trusted sources to speak for itself. Below is an example of what reposting credible material looks like.
#Regram #RG @NatGeo: Photo by @BrianSkerry. A Beluga Whale poses for his portrait in the chilly waters of Nova Scotia. These animals have a tremendous capacity to mimic sounds they hear, with responses ranging from outboard engines to humans talking. Beluga whales have recently been categorized as ‘near threatened,’ due to aggressive hunting by humans and exposure to harmful anthropogenic pollutants over the past several years. To learn more about whales and other marine wildlife, follow @BrianSkerry on Instagram. @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #beluga #whales #white #babybeluga #arctic #climatechange #pollution #photooftheday #oceanography #conservation
A photo posted by Leonardo DiCaprio (@leonardodicaprio) on
3. Create issue-focused Instagram accounts.
With so many pressing issues, it can be challenging to focus on one topic. But dedicating an account to channeling information about a certain issue — especially a broad one — can be a more effective approach. It allows organizations to thoroughly cover one issue, leaving followers with a clear understanding of what they can learn and expect from the account.
Social media allows the public to access celebrities in a more personal way, but DiCaprio has chosen to use that access to contribute to the environmental movement. His account shows us that Instagram can serve as a reliable news source for the public to access on a daily basis in a non-traditional and innovative way. When used responsibly, this tool has great potential to educate, motivate and unite people from all over the world.