Earth Journalism award winners: Front-runners in the race to save the planet

Earth Journalism 2009 Award winners

“If we are to have any hope of reversing the effects of climate change, then we have a monumental task of educating the six billion people on our planet about how climate change works and what they can do to help. The media is critical in this effort, since just one reporter has the ability to reach thousands, even millions, of people. These awards help to expand and honour these vitally important efforts.”

So said Dr Rajendra Pachauri, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner and head of the UN climate panel (IPCC) at the gala ceremony in Copenhagen tonight to present the inaugural Earth Journalism Awards.

Among the other presenters were key figures on climate and environmental issues, including Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland; Marina Silva, the former environment minister of Brazil; and award-winning Chinese movie star Li Bingbing, who is also the Global Ambassador for WWF’s Earth Hour.

Nearly 1,000 journalists, bloggers and citizen reporters from 148 countries participated in the competition by submitting their work. The 15 winners were selected through a process involving a globe-spanning, independent jury with over 100 media and climate change experts. The winning reports included a Kenyan group who spread environmental information to their peers in the Nairobi slums through a hip hop video filmed atop mountains of trash, a compelling account of a small Pakistani community adapting to climate change, and an investigative report on disturbing business practices in Papua New Guinea’s carbon market.

Full list of winning entries and winners found on Earth Journalism website.

The Global Public Award, determined by thousands of online votes, went to “The Route of Smoke,” a multimedia report by Brazilian journalists Andreia Fanzeres and Cristiane Prizibisczki, who documented how customary farming practices that contribute to the country’s emissions are clashing with new methods for responsible agriculture.

“Our reporting showed how complex this issue of burning forests in the Amazon really is,” Fanzeres said. “It’s not about ‘good guys’ versus ‘bad guys.’ If you understand the complexities of climate change, you can start to solve the problem.”

James Fahn, Internews’ Global Director of Environmental Programs, said: “The Earth Journalism Awards were established to boost climate change coverage in this critical year leading up to Copenhagen, and to highlight the efforts of journalists reporting on this challenging subject around the world.”

10 Nov 2009: Earth Journalism Awards: Vote online for your favourite climate story!