For coverage of climate change to really stick with readers, and to prevent them feeling bludgeoned by a bunch of depressing facts, I think reporters could make some simple but important changes in how they approach the issue: be clear about whether consequences are worst-case scenarios, likely scenarios, or inevitable; humanity is reshaping the planet in many other ways as well, so avoid blaming everything on climate change. Otherwise, maybe the next Gallup poll will show that more than half of Americans think reporters exaggerate the climate situation. Let’s hope that climate change impacts don’t get so bad that they change those people’s minds before our reporting does.

Mason Inman is an American science journalist, focusing on climate change, who is based in Karachi, Pakistan. He has written for National Geographic News, New Scientist, Science, and Nature among other publications. His reporting in Bangladesh was supported by a Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism. To read more, visit his blog.