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!

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

Earth Journalism Awards banner

Journalism as if the planet mattered...


Who speaks for the Earth?

Thirty years ago, public astronomer Carl Sagan posed this question in his trail-blazing television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. And this is how he answered it:

“Our loyalties are to the species and to the planet. We speak for earth. Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves, but also to that cosmos ancient and vast from which we spring!”

While we all can – and must – speak for our home planet, journalists covering environmental issues do that everyday as part of their job. And now, the rest of the world can vote for the year’s best efforts in this line of work.

Fifteen winners of the inaugural Earth Journalism Awards were announced this week in Paris. The organisers — Internews, an international NGO that works to empower local media worldwide — have opened the online public voting to find the winner of a 16th prize.

The finalists were selected out of some 900 journalists, bloggers and young creatives from 148 countries who registered to send in their best climate change reports from 2009 in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next month.

earth-journalism_awards“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,” says James Fahn, Internews’ Global Director of Environmental Program. “We were overwhelmed by the tremendous response we received, and would like to thank the hundreds of journalists who entered their stories for participating.”

Winning stories include: a compelling account from Pakistan of how a small coastal community is responding to the multiple challenges that climate change is already posing them; a multi-media investigation on the use and effects of fire in the Amazon; and a business report from East Africa on how Kenyan companies are missing out on the growing global carbon credits market.

They were chosen through a process involving a globe-spanning, independent jury that involved over 100 media and climate change experts. I was part of that process.

The 15 winning stories are available online, and the public now has the opportunity to vote on the Awards website, Twitter, and Facebook for the Global Public Prize – the one story or series that they think should have the attention of the negotiators in the closing days of the negotiations. Voting closes on 9 December 2009.

Watch video announcing the Earth Journalism Awards 2009:

Internews is inviting the winners of the Earth Journalism Awards to cover the negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, (COP15) December 7-18. There they will receive support from Internews to report on the negotiations to their media organizations back home. They will also attend a high profile awards ceremony, to be co-hosted by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, at the Danish Radio Hall on December 14, the eve of the final high-level negotiations. Each of the fifteen winners will receive one of the coveted regional or thematic awards as determined by the independent juries.

The Earth Journalism Awards is being implemented by Internews in association with partners that include the Government of Denmark, hosts of the negotiations; The World Bank; MTV International, the leading global broadcaster and youth brand; The Government of Italy, The V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation and the Edgerton Family Fund; Flip Video Spotlight; the Open Society Network, WWF International, The Global Canopy Programme and the Tcktcktck campaign, part of the GCCA, the international alliance of campaigning NGOs that includes Oxfam, WWF, and Greenpeace, Global Forum for Media Development and IMS.