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The 2021 Best Environmental Journalism

The 2021 Best Environmental Journalism

Amazon rainforest plots for sale via Facebook Marketplace ads, JoaoFellet and Charlotte Pamment BBC Brasil

Since President Jair Bolsonaro’s election, Amazon threats have been a constant feature of the news. The illegal land-grabbing is the main driver of Amazon deforestation. This powerful BBC Brasil investigation found that Facebook is also playing a role in this, with Amazon land plots being sold via the site’s classified ads service. Invaders were secretly recorded boasting about the potential profits from investing in the forest.

How Americans Want Leather in Luxury SUVs Worsens Amazon deforestation, Manuela Andréoni, Hiroko Taki, and Albert Sun The New York Times

But what about leather, and the destructive links between beef cattle and Amazon rainforests? The rigorous cross-border supply chain investigation found leather produced by ranchers in Amazon’s Jaci-Paran reserve. This leather was sold to the American luxury car industry. The investigators discovered that thousands upon thousands of illegally grazed cattle in the reserve were sold on to major meatpackers, who supply the US’s largest automakers.

Nicholas Niarchos, The Dark Side of Congos Cobalt Rush New Yorker

“Cobalt,” one Congo mining chief said, “it makes you dream.” How that dream became a nightmare for one of the world’s most troubled regions is truly riveting and deeply upsetting. The town tore itself apart in order to find the wealth beneath it, sent its children into the mines, and then, unsurprisingly, the arrival of global superpowers to smuggle all the money. This is a striking example of how the green revolution should be different to the resource rushes of fossil fuel age.

A non-profit claimed it would protect wildlife. It claimed it could down trees, Lisa Song, James Temple. ProPublica and MIT technology reviews

As corporations focused on carbon credits based upon planting or protecting trees in order to meet their net zero promises, journalists searched far & wide for the most disturbing case study. ProPublica might have found it with this story about a conservation organization that threatened to reduce the forest it maintains to get a significant revenue stream. That threat doesn’t just mean money for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, however, it also means millions of tonnes of CO2 will be emitted whilst still complying with California’s climate regulations.

Inkcap Journal, Sophie Yeo

Inkcap Journal, a new publication on nature, was launched in the wake of the pandemic. Inkcap Journal has seen significant growth in the last year and fills a gap in reporting about the UK environment. It was launched in 2021. Future LandA series of interviews with people who think deeply about the UK’s land. regenerative farmingTo Rural colonialism. We also had an enjoyable year with investigationThe group used freedom of information requests to dig into data to determine what councils were doing to address the nature crisis. A beautiful was also included photo essayThis used portraits in order to explore what England’s natural world means to people.

Waves of Abandonment Clayton Aldern Christopher Collins, Naveena Sasivam Grist and Texas Observer

Texas and New Mexico are littered in abandoned oil wells. According to Grist and Texas Observer, these abandoned wells can emit greenhouse gases and could cost more than $1bn to clean up. This detailed piece is illuminated by the testimony of people who live in areas with a decaying fossil fuel infrastructure.

Linton Besser, Dead white mans clothing ABC

If youve ever wondered what happens to your clothes when you get rid of them – or send them to charity – then ABC has some depressing answers and startling imagery in this interactive look at the impact vast volumes of second-hand clothing that the Western world sends to Ghana. The interviews reveal the complexities of the problem, and the storytelling is stunning. You can even watch a short film to learn more.

How does Europe get its natural gas?, The FTs Visual Storytelling Team & David Sheppard The FT

The FT examined where Europe gets its energy this autumn as gas prices rose and millions struggled to pay their bills. The result is an excellent piece of explainer journalism that explains the complex geopolitics behind this power crisis. It is beautifully illustrated with simple maps and diagrams.

Mapped: The Network of Powerful Agribusiness Groups Lobbying To Water Down the EUs Sustainability Farming Targets, Daniela Del Lorenzo, Rachel Sherrington DeSmog

This article was one of many impressive investigations published this year by DeSmog. It gave an overview of how chemical companies have tried to influence EU climate and environmental legislation in recent years. This valuable analysis came at a time when significant climate legislation was being considered by the EU, as the British press has shifted their focus away from Brussels.

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