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

Lake Victoria Beset by Environmental Problems

As the morning sky lightens, the sound of machetes hacking through thick grass echoes along the lake's coastline. Fishermen, stripped to their underwear in the already stifling heat, are looking for silvery baby fish along the shoreline in defiance of laws against taking them in breeding grounds.

Troubled Waters: Lake Victoria Threatened

East Africa's Lake Victoria is the world's largest tropical lake—but some experts think it may disappear within twenty years.

Water levels have dropped dramatically in recent years thanks to climate change, hydroelectric dam projects and increasing pressure on the lake's threatened resources. The crisis endangers the livelihood of the more than 30 million people who rely on the lake for food and work.

Kenya: Disappearing Lake

Chala Ahmed had a dream. He wanted to build a waterfront home for his family on the shores of Lake Haramaya, in eastern Ethiopia. Now, that's impossible. The lake has dried up. Lakes around the world are shrinking. Some blame climate change. Others believe poor water mismanagement is the root of the problem. Whatever the cause, the shrinking water supply is affecting communities across the globe. Jessica Partnow reports from Ethiopia.

In Focus: Water Wars

World Water Day on March 22 reminds us of the 1 billion people on Earth who lack easy access to the water most of us take for granted. Global climate change is making that struggle worse, as we see in this report from the rugged region of southern Ethiopia, where drought is drying up wells, threatening an ancient way of life and fueling conflict.

If you can not access the video on YouTube, you can download a wmv file.

Credits:
Special thanks to Salihu Sultan and the Ethiopian Red Cross