Despite advances in the debate about funding to adapt to extreme weather, COP27 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) once again has not delivered ambitious solutions to curb emissions and halt deforestation. It is more important than ever that journalists hold governments accountable as well as the businesses destroying the oceans and forests that are helping to stabilize the Earth's climate.
The Pulitzer Center’s Rainforest Investigations Network (RIN) is currently looking for reporters who want to dedicate a year to investigating deforestation and corruption in the Congo Basin, Southeast Asia, and Amazon rainforests.
In November, the second cohort of RIN Fellows filed hard-hitting stories exposing who is destroying our planet, and how. Brazilian journalist Fernanda Wenzel exposed economic incentives and regulatory failures exploited by the three businessmen behind the biggest continuous deforestation of the Amazon rainforest (the size of about 6,500 soccer fields).
On the other side of the globe, RIN Fellow Anton Delgado worked with Southeast Asia RJF Advisory Committee Member Audrey Tan to show the impact of wildlife poaching on the forests straddling the border between Cambodia and Vietnam.
In Kenya, the war in Ukraine is fueling deforestation in the Congo Basin as soaring energy prices lead people to use charcoal instead of gas. RIN Fellow Protus Onyango reported how five men in Nairobi control the charcoal trade coming from illegally cut trees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
As part of our outreach activities, RIN alumnus Bagja Hidayat spoke at COP27 about Tempo magazine's investigations into deforestation in Indonesia. The outlet has produced multiple RIN series about the corruption and mismanagement behind the failure to protect this huge carbon sink.
COP27 did result in Brazil, the DRC, and Indonesia signing a pact to protect their forests, as RIN alumna Manuela Andreoni reported for The New York Times. Without reporters, these kinds of agreements are at risk of becoming nothing more than empty promises.
Learn more about the Rainforest Investigations Network and apply for the fellowship here.
The Pulitzer Center-supported Barred: A Prisons Project is making an impact in Maharashtra, India. After The Wire published the article “When 'Bandi' Is Both a Game and Life: The Children of India's Women Prisoners,” the Maharashtra state home department issued an order that prisons may not be mentioned as the place of birth for children born behind bars, according to Pulitzer Center grantee Sukanya Shantha. She told the Pulitzer Center that her colleagues are vetting birth certificates to ensure the order is followed by the prisons and health department.
This message first appeared in the November 25, 2022, edition of the Pulitzer Center's weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.
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