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.
As the weather grows warmer, air pollution from smog typically worsens, as does smoke from spreading wildfires. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox spotlights the data that can help improve your coverage, whether via an easy-to-use report on the state of the air from a prominent nonprofit, or straight from various quality EPA data resources. Find help getting started on your air pollution coverage projects now.
An annual list of endangered rivers is out, but with it the journalism just begins, since there are numerous troubled river systems, most likely including one near you. The latest TipSheet details how the endangered river list can serve as a template for local reporting and provides story ideas, questions to ask and resources to tap for your coverage.
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.
If it often feels like the world of environmental journalism is all dour worry over our collective futures, resident humorist David Helvarg is here to remind you that our present is just as scary — if for different, and funnier, reasons. In his latest lampoon of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference, Helvarg shares his trademark jests from Houston. Plus, (straighter) reportage from the gathering at the conference coverage page.
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.
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.
As schools (and many other institutions) around the United States relax mask mandates, questions remain about how they will keep indoor air clean and safe. The latest TipSheet takes a look at the often-underestimated risks of indoor air pollution, as well as well-known practices to clean it up. Get story ideas and resources for reporting on schools in your community.
"A group of New Orleans residents whose homes were built on a toxic landfill decades ago have won a $75.3 million court judgement against the city, its housing authority and the local school board."
"Climate change is likely to bring more catastrophes to Michigan, and a new federal report warns that 29 sites that use hazardous chemicals are in the pathway of worsening floods driven by a changing planet."