A group of 23 media outlets in Latin America has united, each simultaneously publishing an editorial on the first day of 2019 aimed at putting out a call to strengthen the commitment of journalists to cover and investigate topics related to sustainability worldwide. “No matter where you travel around the world today, you find signs of environmental disaster. In the atmosphere: we have emitted millions of tons of CO2, causing the average global temperature to increase, which could mean that the threshold of 2 degrees Celsius is exceeded before the end of this century,” says the editorial.
“Journalism has a commitment at this time, and it is a historic one," the editorial says. "We must look inward and ask ourselves if we are really doing enough. Never before in the history of humanity have we had the global communication tools now available to send information around the world in the blink of an eye. The time to act has come, and journalism must be able to instantly transmit the solutions and actions needed to avert the catastrophe of which we have all been warned. Time is running out.”
The Pulitzer Center strongly supports this call for reporting on the climate change crisis. The Center urges reporters and media outlets from all parts of the world to submit project proposals to its Rainforest Journalism Fund. Now more than ever, the issues affecting the world's rainforests need to be the focus of reporting, as the survival of rainforests will have an immediate impact on climate change.
The proposal for the joint action from Latin American media publications was put forward during the second international journalism forum on investigative journalism grounded in science (“Investigar desde la ciencia”), held in Bogota, Colombia in October 2018. Since the first event, held in the Peruvian Amazon, the forum has brought together journalists, researchers, and scientists committed to researching and generating evidence on urgent matters such as climate change, deforestation and environmental crimes in the Amazon.
The editorial was published by Ojo-Publico.com (Perú), InfoAmazonia (Brasil), Mongabay Latam, El Espectador (Colombia), Semana Sostenible, Cuestión Pública (Colombia), Distintas Latitudes, Lado B (México), El Surtidor (Paraguay), El Deber (Bolivia), Correo del Caroní (Venezuela), GK (Ecuador), La Mula (Perú), El Desconcierto (Chile), Onda Local (Nicaragua), Actualidad Ambiental (Perú), Wayka (Perú), Red de periodistas de a pie (México), Zona Docs (México), Trinchera (México), Raíchali (México), Claves 21 (Argentina), and Runrunes (Venezuela).
This call to action reflects the urgent need to bring attention to this important topic at a difficult juncture for Latin America. Today, Jair Bolsonaro is being inaugurated as the President of Brazil. His team has questioned the existence of climate change and has announced a series of reforms and projects that could represent a serious risk to the Amazon.
The publication of this joint editorial is part of a project by a network of Latin American media who have joined forces to carry out cross-border investigation and research on environmental issues. In 2018, led by Ojo-Publico.com and Mongabay Latam, the group mounted a cross-border investigation titled "Madera Sucia" ("Dirty Wood"), a series of reports that revealed the methods behind the trafficking of wood from the Amazon around the globe.