OneOcean Response Room briefing – Edition #13

Date: 11th September 2020

The OneOcean team has been working on a fortnightly media analysis – the OneOcean Response Room briefing – that looks at the intersections between COVID-19 and environment content, the environment and ocean content, and ocean and COVID-19 content on both legacy and social media.

During the COVID-19 situation, it is important to understand the kind of conversations that are taking place, what is resonating with people and why, to ensure that our communication is as impactful as possible and – at the very least – does no harm in this sensitive time. 

The briefing provides recommendations and example materials which reflect the findings from our analysis. Find to follow a summary of the top-line findings of this week’s briefing, covering 24th August – 6th September 2020.

The full OneOcean Response Room weekly briefing and supporting analysis is available to Flotilla members. If your organisation is interested in receiving this briefing, is not a member and interested in joining, please email travis@oceanprotect.org

Summary of findings

Analysis of legacy and social media for the past two weeks shows us that not much has changed in the communications landscape at the intersection of the ocean, environment and COVID-19. Content remains consistent in volume, but is fragmented in topic. Discussion of how to incorporate climate and environmental protection into economic recovery continues to be a strong theme, although interestingly now appears to be mainstream political rhetoric (with limited evidence of decoupling of people and planet). There are some examples of such rhetoric shifting to tangible action, but evidence of action is limited relative to words and this will be addressed in our recommendations.

Exploration of the environmental impacts of COVID-19 (both positive and negative) continues at a low-level. Ocean-specific coverage tended to focus on ocean pollution, through some coverage of the Mauritius oil spill, a report on denim microfibres in the Arctic ocean and some coverage of microplastics. Coverage of PPE as a pollutant appears to have reached the end of its trajectory or be experiencing a temporary lull. Content at the ocean-COVID-19 intersection was low.

Social media data was also fragmented in nature, with a low-level continuation of previous themes (appreciation for the environment, impact of COVID-19, etc). Ocean images continue to be shared extensively on Instagram, with reference to missing the ocean or appreciating nature. An article on the environmental improvements in Hanauma Bay during lockdown performed particularly well.

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