Next week, WFPL News is one of more than 250 news outlets participating in a week of concentrated coverage about climate change leading up to the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23.
The effort — Covering Climate Now — is lead by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation. The media organizations participating include newspapers, magazines, TV stations, radio stations and online news sites from around the country and the world.
We are the only news outlet in Kentucky on the list.
So, why is WFPL participating? Our newsroom has had a full-time environment reporter on staff for more than a decade, and over that time it’s become clear that climate change is increasingly THE story. Even when we’re reporting on sewer overflows or crumbling flood protection infrastructure or coal ash pollution or urban heat, it all comes back to this larger discussion about how humans have been shaping the world and how all these decades of industrialization and carbon dioxide emissions have irreversibly changed our climate.
I say “irreversibly” because climate scientists believe that’s true, at least in some places — there’s evidence we may have already reached so-called tipping points in places like the Arctic or Amazon. But one of the reasons this sustained coverage of climate change is so important is because even though the future could look dire, there are still things we can do to head off the worst effects.
That’s why this reporting is so valuable. Over the next week you’ll see a number of stories about different aspects of climate change in Kentucky. We’ll also be incorporating a discussion on climate change’s effects in the region and Appalachia’s economic transition into After Hours at the Speed on September 20 (following a reading by Wendell Berry), and we’ll spend an hour talking about the issue on WFPL’s talk show In Conversation on September 27. But just like these aren’t the first stories we’ve done about climate change, they won’t be the last.
You can find all of our stories for this series as they’re published, as well as other stories we’ve done on the subject here. And let us know what you think about our coverage; you can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.