Changing Times – environmental journalism that digs deep
Latest news: Changing Times brings you in-depth reports on the assassination of indigenous activists Berta Cáceres and Nelson García in Honduras and the international outcry that has followed these murders.
The funeral of Berta Cáceres.
As environmentalists continue to be murdered around the globe, there is no let-up in the devastation they devoted their lives to fighting against.
One of the world’s most serious environmental disasters took place last year in Indonesia, with forest fires destroying thousands of hectares of precious rainforest. The resulting pollution blanketed a huge area of Southeast Asia for months. There were numerous deaths and half a million people suffered from respiratory illnesses.
Most of the fires burned on peatlands, which are a crucial storehouse for CO2. The fires emitted as much carbon into the atmosphere in a single day as some industrialised nations release in an entire year.
Fires are now burning again in Sumatra and on Borneo and there are fears that there will be a repetition of what happened in 2015.
Dried-out peatland is not only a massive fire risk; a recent study by Wetlands International indicates that vast areas of Southeast Asia will be frequently and irreversibly flooded before the end of the century if action is not taken to stop the destruction of tropical peatlands.
Mega-dams are, meanwhile, being built all over the world and are also causing massive destruction.
The rights of indigenous people are being trampled upon as forests are cleared to make way for the dams and the heavy industries they are being built to serve. Loggers are making fortunes at the expense not only of local people, but of irreplaceable biodiversity.
Berta Cáceres was a key opponent of the the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam being constructed on indigenous community land in Río Blanco, Honduras.
There are threats to the Barrier Reef in Australia, and coal seam gas extraction has turned life for many people in rural Queensland into a living nightmare.
Elsewhere in the world, even areas that are designated as United Nations World Heritage sites are being targeted for fracking.
Our environment and wildlife habitat are being devastated at an incalculable rate, but media coverage of the impacts and causes is often sporadic and superficial.
The current outbreak of the Zika virus in South and Central America raises vital questions about the use of chemical larvicides and the release of genetically modified mosquitoes. I will continue to delve into these issues and seek answers.
Urban overdevelopment is as much an environmental issue as the destruction being wreaked outside of our cities. One example is the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, where historic areas like Kampong Bharu are slated to be razed to the ground to make way for yet more high-rise offices and condominiums.
The role of Changing Times
My aim is to get to the root of the issues I tackle, and make connections between subjects that are often treated separately.
Human rights, and the rights of animals, are inextricably linked in with more general environmental concerns. Our health and well-being, and that of the wildlife with which we share this planet, depend on us having clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, and food that nourishes us.
I talk to people on the ground and give voice to those who are rarely heard elsewhere. I always go that extra mile to fact-check, examine different angles, and point to solutions.
I believe that, by focusing on the issues that really matter, we can chart a sustainable way forward.
Vaccination and water fluoridation are two other issues I am researching. Funding will enable me to devote time to these complex subjects, about which there is a great deal of emotive misinformation.
One of my favourite slogans is “No tree; no me.” This applies as much to
us as to animals such as the koala and the orangutan, who depend on
forests and woodlands to survive.
Orangutan rescue in June 2016.
I believe that journalism can be holistic. Working holistically means going behind the scenes and beyond the press release. It’s about seeing the bigger picture, sidestepping the propaganda, and going out into the streets to ask so-called ordinary people how they see the world.
Supporting my work
I have kept Changing Times going for five years, using my savings. I am now widely read and Changing Times has a reputation for providing well-researched, reliable, in-depth content. I have already garnered more than 98,000 views. Having built up the website, I now need funding to keep it going.
I will continue writing about the impact of mega-dams, the rights of indigenous people, and whether palm oil can be produced responsibly, and am keen to explore further the issues of food sovereignty and safety.
I intend to write more about global deforestation, and the threats posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
My recent work has been focused mostly on Southeast Asia and Australia. With funding, I could expand my coverage of events in Central and South America and widen my scope to other regions of the world.
Please pledge via Byline to support my work.