This week, Pulitzer Center grantees showcased five short documentaries exploring the intersection of labor rights and environmental and social issues. The D.C. Environmental Film Festival welcomed over 150 attendees at the MLK Public Library. The films highlighted issues and solutions to our changing climate: how workers handle extreme heat in India, the health fallout of World Cup construction in Qatar, how farmers use “ice stupas” in the Himalayas, the disappearing kelp forests of California, and what a record-shattering salmon run in Alaska tells us about warming ecosystems.
The Pulitzer Center is a longtime partner of the film festival, which closely aligns with our model of amplifying journalism through education and public engagement. This week’s film screenings were followed by a conversation with the filmmakers and Pulitzer Center grantees Aryn Baker, Hal Bernton, Fred de Sam Lazaro, and Andrew W. Robinson, led by Christine Spolar, climate and labor editor at the Pulitzer Center.
One audience member asked the journalists how they keep their spirits high while working on discouraging topics. Baker responded with a quote from children's television host Mr. Rogers: “Look for the helpers.” Climate change poses a serious threat to our planet and humanity, but all of the films feature people who care deeply about these issues and are ready to tackle them head-on.
De Sam Lazaro agreed: “I want to second that […] I’m never brought down as much as I am wowed by the enormous courage people display under extremely difficult circumstances.”
In the past year, the Pulitzer Center expanded its education and outreach programs internationally. We are thrilled to bring these conversations to new audiences and announce our 2023 conference Climate & Labor: Bringing Worlds Together, in partnership with The Centre for Social Studies and the Faculty of Economics at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. This two-day conference, with in-person and virtual programming, will invite journalists, academics, students, and social movements to start a cross-sectoral discussion about the connection between climate change and labor rights, as well as future narratives.
Attendees will engage in conversations on power, social justice, health, capitalism, climate colonialism, extreme heat, and land rights. These discussions—with programming supported in four languages—will draw on Pulitzer Center reporting on labor and the environment. These critical intersections are yet to be explored on a global scale in public and academic debates.
Creating this moment for the public, media, and university communities to come together is part of our goal to include strong, diverse representation, filling gaps in the global discussion. Register now to join the conversation on April 19 and 20. We hope to see you there!
Rainforest Investigations Network Fellow Yao-Hua Law won the prestigious Sigma Award for data journalism. In an announcement via Twitter on March 19, 2023, Law celebrated the competition’s first win for a Malaysian entry. His Sigma submission included three stories from two Pulitzer Center-supported projects: Forest Plantations on the Rise. What’s the Deal? and Unrecorded Forest Loss in Peninsular Malaysia: Locations, Actors, and Consequences.
This message first appeared in the March 24, 2023, edition of the Pulitzer Center's weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.
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