It’s a big world and it takes a lot to cover it. No list of people or stories can ever do justice to all the great environmental reporting happening, but I’d like to honor three journalists who show the value members of the Society of Environmental Journalists bring to the world.
In fall 2019, Emily Atkin launched HEATED, a newsletter to cover climate change. It’s become, in her own words, “a model publication for other journalists seeking freedom and stability.” Every newsletter also shows how important it is to have someone covering the ecosystem of information and misinformation that shapes how the public understands and misunderstands climate change.
New York University Professor Dan Fagin’s “Toms River” is a book I think about constantly. He shows the devastating effects of pollution on a New Jersey community. But, more than that, he shows how good science should have spared victims those bad outcomes -- but science is hard and ignored while pollution is easy and excused.
Forty million people in the Western United States and Mexico depend on the Colorado River, but few places are as dependent and vulnerable to its whims as Arizona. Luckily, there’s Vanessa Barchfield, who turns the river in all its hydrologic and political complexity into exacting, riveting and understandable multimedia journalism for Arizona Public Media and all Arizonans.
I hope you’ll join me in enjoying and appreciating these journalists, their past work and their work to come.
Because of the help SEJ can provide to journalism like this, I’m making a donation this year in their honor. This work helps change the world for the better, but, like all nonprofits, it’s fragile. I’ll hope you’ll join me in donating, too.
Reporter, Adirondack Explorer, SEJ Member