The Human Dimensions of Climate Change – 15 Grants Awarded

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Earth Journalism Network, Washington, DC

Despite bearing the least responsibility for the conditions accelerating climate change, vulnerable and under-represented populations—in particular women, youth, and indigenous communities—often have the most at stake. Their voices are rarely heard, in either local media or internationally. Their stories, however, could make a significant difference in policy decisions related to climate change.

As part of the Human Dimensions of Climate Change project, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is funding locally led initiatives which help meet the growing demand for actionable knowledge on climate change, and its impacts on marginalized groups in particular. Ten organizational grants have been awarded thus far – another five will be awarded soon, along with dozens of smaller grants to support individual stories.

The following projects are underway around the world:

Bangladesh The International Centre for Climate Change and Development is developing a curriculum for aspiring journalists that combines classroom-style lectures and field visits to enhance their ability to produce more in-depth reports on climate change issues. This program will help young media professionals gain scientific knowledge of these complex topics and an understanding of the policies taken to address them.

Cameroon This project, Climate Change on Air, seeks to build the professional capacities of community radio journalists through a four-day training program and the establishment of a new knowledge-sharing platform -- the Climate Change Radio Network (CC-Radio Network) -- to improve the quality of regional reporting. The project will train 20 aspiring journalists from eight communities in West Cameroon on how to report and produce programs and generate climate change awareness at a local level.

India The Department of Communication at Madurai Kamaraj University is developing a capacity building program to train aspiring young journalists to cover climate change at a local level. Students will be guided through the process of developing story ideas, will be exposed to proper vernacular and will network with other budding journalists and experts in the field.

Brazil – Na Boca do Lobo Produções' project will gather students from around Brazil to write articles on urgent issues related to climate change from the urban environmental perspective, such as water, energy sources, waste, transport and food security. Student writers are encouraged to work in teams to generate interaction between young journalists on these important themes and work will be published on a bilingual (Portuguese and English) online platform.

Nepal StoryCycle will develop a user manual for conducting a five-day hands-on story camp on the theme of environmental and climate change reporting based on the process deployed by the organization in previous projects. StoryCycle plans to test its methodology and later launch it alongside the EJN

South Africa The Opeckers Climate Change Tracker will build on Oxpeckers’ already established mapping technology to track and publicize the impacts of climate change and adaptation opportunities. The platform will be used to inform and build a network that can communicate on climate issues, and particularly adaptation efforts. It will also provide related investigative articles, and information on new scientific research relating to climate change in southern African countries.

Pakistan – WWF Pakistan’s project will raise awareness regarding the impacts of climate change and the lack of compliance with environmental legislation in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. It will also give a voice to local communities through a two-way SMS based communications platform, which will utilize phone messaging to capture data and conduct analyses on climate vulnerability-related concerns. Additionally, journalists will visit Darkut Valley, and gain first-hand experience in documenting local impacts of and attitudes toward climate change.

Argentina & Chile - The Patagon Journal’s GeoJournalism project will present issues, events, and areas of importance in Chilean and Argentine Patagonia that show the myriad effects of climate change on human communities. The digital geo-located mapping will allow readers to zoom in on a particular location or issue to learn more through the presentation of stories, engaging multimedia, data, and more. Patagon Journal will partner with universities, scientific centers, and non-governmental groups in compiling quality information. The project will also seek to involve other journalism organizations and media outlets to contribute to the growth and capacity of media reporting on climate change on a national and international level.

Global (and Mongolia) – Development Seed’s OpenAQ project seeks to grow and engage a community of local media, tech, and air quality experts across the world. The scope of this project is a subset within the larger OpenAQ project, which includes: building an online tool that allows programmatic and historical data access and compares existing air quality data from polluted cities; holding a workshop in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to convene local air quality scientists, software developers, and media experts to familiarize, brainstorm, and build on this platform; and develop and update a toolkit for the OpenAQ community to access that gives step-by-step instructions on how to contribute AQ data sites to the platform. The Open AQ platform and this first workshop in Mongolia will provide critical air quality data in one of the most polluted cities in the worlds, connect journalists to other tech and air quality experts in the local community, and stimulate the use of this information in media that pertains to air pollution, health, and climate change.

Caribbean – Trinidad & Tobago-based Tech4agri will create a web series that features technology, innovation, and the people behind agricultural adaptation and resilience initiatives in the Caribbean. Five webisodes will tell stories related to climate-smart agriculture, mitigation, adaptation, and resilience in the region, all of which are rarely featured in the public sphere. The web-based series will be produced using mobile and drone journalism techniques which allows for increased visual appeal and engagement with the target audience of “agriyouth” who not only desire such information, but also benefit from the support structure it provides. Additionally Tech4agri will begin a training activity to teach other bloggers the basics of mobile journalism, thereby enabling the production of more engaging climate change resilience content throughout the region.

Pakistan – The “Reporting Impacts of Climate Change on Communities” project, implemented by the National Council of Environmental Journalists in Pakistan (NCEJ), will focus on building the capacity of Pakistani journalists to report on pressing climate change issues. It will expand NCEJ’s network and membership, as well as provide trainings in classrooms and the field for over 30 newly recruited and senior NCEJ members across Pakistan, from the Arabian Sea in the Indus River Delta to the drought-hit Thar Desert, and the glacial range of Gilgit-Baltistan. Stories produced by participating journalists will be published on the NCEJ website and The Nature News.

Philippines - The “Raising Local Climate Voices” project will use innovative media reporting tools to transform the way journalists in the Philippines report the human dimensions of climate change. The Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ) will hold workshops and webinars to train local media in areas including GeoJournalism, data journalism, visualization, and mapping. This project will target local environmental journalists mostly affected by the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, who are eager to upgrade their skills and empower local citizens with information using basic, available technology. They will report on issues with a focus on the human dimensions of climate change in their localities.

Kenya – Panos Eastern Africa will implement a project to build the capacity of the Kenyan media and journalists to support a national effort in creating a climate resilient society. The project seeks to enhance media capacity in communicating climate change issues and profile neglected climate issues in the public domain, especially those which impact poor and marginalized Kenyan communities. The project also sets out to increase the level of public awareness on the Kenya Climate Change Action Plan (KCCAP) through the organization of two high-level roundtable discussions on topical issues highlighted in the KCCAP.

Egypt - The Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Center for Environmental Studies will present vocational and educational training specifically designed to help create a new generation of journalists who are able to obtain, analyze, and illustrate scientific information about environmental and climate change issues, making this information more appealing and accessible to the public. Using a science-based approach to reporting, this project will improve the understanding of participating young journalists on environmental and climate change issues impacting Egypt. Activities include environmental awareness workshops for participants led by experts, field visits to vulnerable areas in the region, and online publication of resulting stories. Participants will also carry out environmental awareness campaigns with students in their governorates.

Global - The Ocean Acidification Report, published by the National Fisheries Conservation Center (NFCC) is an accelerated learning tool – a series of reports from the frontlines of ocean acidification that includes the latest research and stories of those being most affected. Because it is a relatively new, but quite serious issue, it is not adequately covered in mainstream media, and the science is constantly changing. New species are frequently found to be under threat, in new and different ways. Telling a story that people can relate to is the best way to convey a difficult subject like ocean acidification, so issues are typically presented as stories about stakeholders seeking to adapt to and mitigate this growing threat. The report reaches over 6,500 subscribers in over 100 countries. This grant will support three issues of the report as well as invest in the development of NFCC’s partnership with Amrita University in India.