Environmental Journalism

Africa, Climbing, Environmental Journalism, Ethiopia / 15.10.2010

Eight thousand miles is a long way to travel just to set up a top rope. That’s especially true when there’s a guy with a machine gun blocking your way on the approach. But here on the sandstone cliffs of the Gheralta Massif was a unique opportunity to help writer and mountain guide Majka Burhardt establish some of the very first sport climbing routes in the nation of Ethiopia. The risk of automatic weapons fire notwithstanding it didn’t take long to convince me that it was still a good idea.
Africa, Charitable Giving, Environmental Journalism, Ethiopia / 23.09.2010

Dawn breaks on Addis Ababa like any city in America. A rooster crows in the distance and a braying donkey can be heard above the swelling sounds of morning traffic. This is Africa. Yet somehow, Ethiopia feels like coming home.

On first encounter locals here address me like one of their own. The color of my skin, the texture of my hair, the cast of my eyes, are all familiar to them. But upon second reckoning of my clothing, the camera bag on my shoulder, my manner of speaking they realize. I am a foreigner, a “forengee.” Yet still I am welcome. It’s up to me to impress upon those I meet that I have come to love their homeland, my motherland, and that I want to stay a bit longer.

Despite my own genetic connection to this place I believe anyone who visits here might feel a similar since of kinship. After all, it was upon this continent that more than 10,000 years ago the human race was born. In our travels I believe that we often see a common bond between ourselves and others, a shared humanity that will likely be the salvation of our race on this planet. This is a letter from Africa with love.
Assignment Earth, Environmental Journalism, Environmental Protection / 09.09.2010

The Colorado River and its tributaries sustain nearly 30 million people across seven states and Mexico. It is the most controlled river in the world and has created fertile land and large cities where there was once desert. Agriculture, wildlife, local tourism, recreational businesses and big cities all count on water from this coveted river. Hard times however have caught up with the Colorado. Drought coupled with increasing development in the Southwest has created a new reality. In this edition of Assignment Earth we take a look at efforts to save the threatened Colorado River.
Assignment Earth, Environmental Journalism, Environmental Protection, National Monuments / 20.08.2010

At Trackways National Monument, experts have excavated the best examples of Paleozoic era plants and animals on the planet. “These different types of fossils are the best preserved and the most significant of their kind in the world,” said Jerry MacDonald of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. MacDonald has made his life’s work searching for and excavating prehistoric fossils in the Robledo Mountains just outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. His discoveries, starting in the early 1980s helped to establish the area as the 5,200-acre Trackways National Monument in 2009. “It’s a concentrated fossil deposit that not only has track-ways but it has petrified wood, fossil leaves, marine fossils, he said And all of these things represent a window to the past.” This public land in the American Southwest desert is one of the few places on Earth where evidence of the Permian period is exposed. The creatures who left these tracks in the mud almost 300 million years ago occupy a much different version of New Mexico.

Assignment Earth, Destinations, Environmental Journalism, Environmental Protection / 11.08.2010

Among the rolling mountains of Southern New Mexico lies Fort Stanton Snowy River National Conservation Area. Once home to Billy the Kid, occupied by both Union and Confederate Armies, the Buffalo Soldiers and the Apache Mescalero tribe, its history and culture are rich. Today it remains largely as it existed 150 years ago, offering new opportunities above and below ground. Directly beneath this postcard New Mexico Landscape is fort Stanton Cave, an obscure recreational caving site since the 1960s. But in 2001 spelunkers investigating signs of additional caves revealed Snowy River Passage, an endless series of tunnels whose floors are lined with white calcite deposits, the longest formation of its kind in the world.
Assignment Earth, Environmental Journalism, Environmental Protection, Interview / 27.07.2010

Field producers for Assignment Earth arguably have the coolest job in the world. Reporter Rebecca Huntington blends exploring wild places, her favorite pastime, with storytelling to educate the general public on events and issues at the forefront of environmental conservation. Born in Billings Montana, Rebecca, 38, now lives in Jackson, Wyoming. With a degree in Spanish and Journalism from the University of Montana and as a Ted Scripps fellow of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder she, brings a wealth of knowledge and training to her production work. Reporting for Assignment Earth since 2007 Rebecca connects with researchers and activists to offer viewers an on-the-ground perspective of efforts to protect and preserve the natural world. What follows is a Q&A interview conducted for Assignment Earth