International

"Nuclear Rules in Japan Relied on Old Science"

"In the country that gave the world the word tsunami, the Japanese nuclear establishment largely disregarded the potentially destructive force of the walls of water. The word did not even appear in government guidelines until 2006, decades after plants — including the Fukushima Daiichi facility that firefighters are still struggling to get under control — began dotting the Japanese coastline."

Source: NY Times, 03/28/2011

"Bees Facing a Poisoned Spring"

"A new generation of pesticides is making honeybees far more susceptible to disease, even at tiny doses, and may be a clue to the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has devastated bees across the world, the US government's leading bee researcher has found. Yet the discovery has remained unpublished for nearly two years since it was made by the US Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory."

Source: UK Independent, 01/20/2011

On the Mafia To-Do List? Take Out the Trash

A student op-ed zeroing in on Rome’s trash problem, the role of organized crime and the silencing of Italy’s journalists has won the Society of Environmental Journalists’ first-ever Student Press Freedom Day contest. Our EJ Academy column shares Macy Berendsen’s opinion piece, which asks what the news media there can do to help clean up the Eternal City.

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An Endless ‘Silent Spring’? Find Out on a Spring Walk (With the Birders)

To better understand troubled bird populations and the many forces undermining them, grab some binoculars and a notebook, and catch up with your local birders, including the burgeoning number of minority birders. That’s the advice from the latest TipSheet, which offers reporting resources and numerous story ideas, including the impacts of climate change, habitat loss, water access and the “insect apocalypse.” 

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Global Satellite Data IDs Tensions Between Food Production, Biodiversity

A recent study of global cropland expansion highlights several trends that are ripe with environmental news stories. One finding: New farm fields have taken over an area the size of Texas and California combined since the start of the century, an expansion primarily affecting biodiversity-rich natural ecosystems, with Africa leading the cropland boom. Freelancer Gabriel Popkin explores the latest data and the reporting possibilities.

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Grantee Wades Into Surprising Blue-Green Algae Problem

A chance encounter with a social media post from a retired government official led environmental journalist Sharon Oosthoek on a virtual, pandemic-era journey deep into the waters of Lake Superior to chase down an algal bloom. In her contribution to FEJ StoryLog, Oosthoek shares how she leveraged the tip into a grant that allowed her and her TV channel partner to produce a multi-part text, video, engagement and teaching project.

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How Ireland’s Tree Farms, Licensed With Little Environmental Assessment, Harm Biodiversity, Rural Communities

A crowdsourced, crowdfunded investigation on the damage caused by the spread of commercial spruce plantations, both to the biodiversity-rich areas of Ireland and the isolated farming communities where they are planted, was the subject of an award-winning report from journalist Niall Sargent. Find out how he ID’d the problem, overcame investigative challenges and ultimately told a human-centered, data-rich story. Our latest Inside Story Q&A.

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A Castoff Bumper Leads to a Literary ‘Autobiography’ of Plastic

Environmental writer Allison Cobb, in “Plastic: An Autobiography,” tells the story of the ubiquitous material through a series of interwoven narratives that range from her own experiences with it (including a discarded plastic car bumper), to the corporate origins of its spread and the way it’s now dangerously carpeting nature and damaging human communities. Contributor Nano Riley has a review in our new BookShelf.

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