Environmental Journalism: This Is What It Looks Like

I’ve written about environmental journalism before – that there are fewer reporters covering it, even as there are more and more issues to cover. I wrote a post about this the end of January, “Needed: More Environmental Journalism (it’s 3 posts down the page).

When I saw this article about “Walker’s Plan to Freeze Land Purchases . . .,” in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this past week I knew I would share the link and comment on it. I think it’s a very good example of environmental journalism at work, explaining, and providing some context, for complex news. There are a number of controversial changes that are being considered for Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources, proposed in Governor Scott Walker’s newest 2-year budget plan. Over the next few months – these budget proposals will be debated, perhaps amended, and eventually in some form, they’ll be approved.

Governor Walker’s Proposals for Natural Resource Management in Wisconsin

Among these changes is one that removes a powerful oversight role from a citizens natural resources board. This is a board that derives from the Conservation Commission created in 1928, to ensure citizen decision-making authority over natural resource management; this was an entity that Aldo Leopold helped to craft. The budget also calls for sharp cuts in the DNR’s research staff, and it would eliminate state money for the state park system. While the article linked to above mentions all of these things, it’s focus is on the governor’s proposed 13-year freeze of land purchases for the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund.

Good, clean, Wisconsin shoreline.

Good, clean, Wisconsin shoreline.

This bi-partisan fund, named for two former governors, one from each major political party, has been very successful statewide in protecting important parcels of land through purchases and conservation easements. You can learn a lot about it, the reasons for the lengthy, proposed freeze, and the push back from many statewide groups in this article by reporter Lee Bergquist.

The Top Environmental Stories from Last Year

I would like to recommend one more link to good examples of environmental journalism. Near the end of 2014, EcoWatch, an online news source for such journalism, published this list of the 10 Most important Environmental Stories of the past year. At the top of the list are Obama’s EPA move to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and also the agreement between US. and China to cut emissions.

Other top stories highlighted include the drought in California, and a new report from the World Wildlife Fund on a 40-year study which documents a significant decline in wildlife. There are other interesting environmental stories, as well; I hope you’ll have a look at it. Knowing these things can help us all advocate for better decision-making in government, globally as well as locally.

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6 thoughts on “Environmental Journalism: This Is What It Looks Like

  1. I find that my blog posts on Living Lightly receive much less attention than my other more personal pieces. I write novels with environmental messages, and I can tell you, they aren’t as popular as some of my other genres of fiction. I keep at it and am glad you do, too. I’m reblogging your post today and thank you for putting your thoughts out there.

    • Hello, P.C. – I’m grateful for the reblog! And for your comment here, too.

      It’s your Living Lightly blog that led me to discover you, so we share “mutual gladness” in each others’ “keeping on” with the environmental messages. I’m going to check out your approach to enviro coverage through fiction, too; I always intend to read more fiction, and now you’ve given me another motivation for it.

  2. Pingback: Environmental Journalism: This Is What It Looks Like | Living Lightly

  3. Thank you for the link from Eco Watch on the top stories —- at least with the U.S. Climate Change Movement emerging, there is something positive to contrast news like drastic cuts in your area’s DNR funds. I just don’t get these types of decisions…well, I do, but I don’t. It is selfish thinking, and where is the big picture thinking?

    But really… “Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, will now chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee”…OMG.

    I’ve written about California’s drought and will continue to do so (especially that I live in an area that produces an astonishing $1 Billion worth of produce yearly…but to see the statistics from the Eco Watch report that “Currently California produces 99 percent of artichokes, 99 percent of walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis, 97 percent of plums, 95 percent of celery, 95 percent of garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach and 69 percent of carrots” should cause great concern over food availability and pricing for all of us if the drought persists.

    You probably heard this already, but in case not, http://www.npr.org/2015/03/14/392956068/guardian-editor-pledges-to-bolster-coverage-of-climate-change (the editor is stepping down soon, but hopefully the new editor will keep this focus!)

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