Issue

Environment and Climate Change

Earth's average temperature has risen approximately one degree Fahrenheit in the last 50 years. By the end of this century, it will be several degrees higher, according to the latest climate research.

But global warming is doing more than simply making things a little warmer. It's changing rainfall, causing heat waves, and making sea level rise, all of which create human suffering.

Environment and Climate Change brings together reporting from Pulitzer Center grantees on the abilities of communities in diverse regions to bounce back and adapt to the impacts of climate change: One highlight includes in-depth reporting by Nathaniel Rich on the response to global warming during the 1979-1989 decade—an article that takes up the entire issue of The New York Times Magazine. Our journalists investigate climate change in the Arctic—the effects on indigenous communities, the destruction of the fragile natural environment, and the conflict between humans and polar bears. One interactive, award-winning multimedia project, "Sea Change," looks at ocean acidification, its impact on fishing, people's livelihoods, and food security. The documentary "Easy Like Water" features a solar-powered school boat in Bangladesh, where flooding may create 20 million "climate refugees" by mid-century.

Other stories covered here range from the future of the residents of Kiribati, a low-lying island nation in the Pacific, to the biological diversity of the rainforest in Peru, and the psychological effects of climate change on the inhabitants of Australia and Fiji. How does the melting Arctic ice cap affect our lives? How do overfishing and exploitation of mineral resources beneath the ocean’s surface jeopardize food sources need to sustain the planet’s ever-expanding population?

As part of the Pulitzer Center's long-term support for climate change reporting, the Rainforest Journalism Fund was established to provide capacity for local journalists operating in the rainforest regions of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, as well as international journalists reporting from those regions. The Fund represents a major investment in global environmental and climate reporting, with plans to support nearly 200 original reporting projects along with annual regional conferences designed to raise the level of reporting on global rainforest issues such as deforestation and climate change.

 

Environment and Climate Change

Diminishing Water Resources Threaten Peace

A dispute over a one-acre island in Lake Victoria that has fueled talk of war between Kenya and Uganda is but one instance of increasing conflict over shrinking water resources throughout Africa.

Such conflicts pit ethnic groups, races and nations against one another and are likely to get worse, fueled by a toxic mix of climate change, environmental ruin, mounting droughts and famine.

China: Final Thoughts from the Desertification Train

Winding my way along China's network of rail lines through the northern provinces of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Xinjiang, I have travelled over 4000 kilometers over the past 6 weeks, witnessing first hand the severity of desertification in China, just from my carriage window. The route I have followed, although made up of a number of trains, has been dubbed China's 'desertification train', as it snakes through some of the hardest hit land, suffering as a result of this increasingly severe phenomenon.

While the Tap is On (Video from Delhi)

A couple of days ago we got a powerful glimpse of the psychology of water. Jyoti Sharma, President of the water related ngo FORCE invited me to witness the situation in and around the C sector in Vasant Kunj, South Delhi. Here, everyone stocks up on water. But whereas the slum dwellers only manage to fill their buckets and small containers from a public water tanker with little more than the 20 liters a human needs per day, the rich acquire thousands of liters during the one hour of running water the Government provides for them -just in case there will be no water tomorrow.

China: Science vs The Desert

The cool spring winds are blowing in the northern-central regions of Xinjiang province in mid-May. Winding their way through the leafy roads of this legendary oasis town, they provide a cooling respite from the slowly increasing temperatures which climb to nearly 50 degrees centigrade in the summer months, earning the region the name of the 'Land of Fire'. Like many towns in this region, Turpan is surrounded on all sides by dry and hostile expanses of arid land, however nestling in this oasis, is one of China's leading centres into research aimed at fighting the expanding sands.

In Nepal, Environment is Hostage to Political Crisis

A few days after my colleague and I arrived in Nepal, the Prime Minister resigned. Since his departure, street protests have brought the potential for violent clashes and the derailment of a nascent peace process that ended a 10-year Maoist insurgency in 2006. When I showed up at the World Bank office in Kathmandu last week asking about climate change, my interview subject seemed pleasantly surprised.

"Wow," said Claudia Sadoff," it's nice to see people are still interested in the environment."

China: The Sea of Death

The 'Sea of Death' is the not so affectionate name that has been given by the Chinese people to the Taklamakan desert, a desert of such epic proportions and intimidating size, that its name in the local Uygur language translates as 'You can go in, but you will never come out'. As my car passes through the gate indicating my entrance to this treacherous land, I can only hope that my chances of exiting have been improved by the relatively new 500km of trans-desert highway that stretches endlessly before me from one side of the desert to the other.