The Covid-19 pandemic has become the most disruptive global health emergency in modern history, with devastating consequences for people across the world. But stay-at-home orders, border closures and other measures did produce one hopeful by-product: a sudden and dramatic decline in CO2 emissions worldwide. While not enough to save humanity from the looming climate change crisis, we have witnessed an encouraging glimpse into a future where CO2 emissions are kept under control. Trillions of dollars in government stimulus packages to revive the post-Covid economy could present an opportunity for a “green recovery” and a carbon neutral future – but is government spending really working towards this optimistic goal?
On the ground, the pandemic has only compounded existing threats to the most vulnerable in society, including Indigenous communities worldwide. In addition to the immediate threat of the virus to the health of isolated Indigenous peoples, the disarray of the pandemic has been used to cloak harmful activities and policies that are being quietly brought into force. These threats to the rights of Indigenous peoples not only impact them but also the plant and animal life that they protect, which amounts to an astonishing 80% of global biodiversity. While it is clear that Indigenous peoples play an important role as guardians of most of the world's species, many of these communities are reaching a crisis point.
With funding from Svenska Postkodstiftelsen (the Swedish Postcode Foundation), this project will shine a spotlight on the so-called “green recovery” emerging from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the role of Indigenous peoples as defenders of most of the world’s remaining biodiversity. To work towards improving media coverage on each of these distinct thematic areas, EJN will host complementary activities for each topic:
Introductory webinars with expert speakers to discuss each topic and explain our goals to potential applicants;
Story grants for journalists to report on stories focused on the two aforementioned topics;
One-to-one mentorship by EJN editors, senior journalists and thematic experts through the story production process;
Training workshops for a select group of environmental journalists on each of the two aforementioned topics;
Open-access online training courses on each topic for journalists to use as a resource when reporting on the chosen topic; and
Final webinars to introduce the online courses and advance further understanding on the chosen themes.
For the second theme, which will focus on the role of Indigenous peoples as environmental defenders, journalists will have the opportunity to learn from Indigenous and other expert speakers at our webinars. The story grants will focus on supporting Indigenous journalists in their reporting. The training workshop will enable Indigenous reporters to develop their skills and share their experiences, and an open-access online training course will provide Indigenous and non-Indigenous journalists with a deeper understanding of the threats facing Indigenous peoples globally, as well as the benefits their biodiversity stewardship provides to the planet.
Banner image: A Friends of the Earth rally for Green Recovery in the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland / Credit: Colin Hattersley on Flickr.