Pick the best story for Copenhagen

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Of the 450 submissions from journalists in over 100 countries who registered for the opportunity to win one of the Earth Journalism Awards (EJAs) to be given at Copenhagen next month, 15 winners have now been announced in categories such as adaptation, human voices, forests, energy, and so on.

But that’s not all. Here’s where “everyone” comes in. You can now help choose a final winner by reading the winning entries online and voting for the best story—the one, in your opinion, that most deserves to get the attention of negotiators from the 192 countries that will be at Copenhagen.

The EJAs are being put together by Internews, a global media assistance organization, in partnership with sponsors such as the World Bank—including with explicit support from the authors of this year’s World Development Report (WDR) 2010: Development and Climate Change.

Members of the WDR team will help the 15 award winners in Copenhagen to highlight (for their media outlets) how developing countries can move towards a lower-carbon development path—with financing and technical assistance from rich countries. In fact, one of the WDR’s main messages is that a “climate-smart” world is within reach, if we act now, act together, and act differently.

Another finding—very relevant to efforts such as these awards—is that reporting on climate change can at times be counterproductive, acting to paralyze rather than catalyze people, for example, when coverage is bleak and portrays inexorable damage. In its last chapter, Overcoming Institutional and Behavioral Inertia, the report notes that: "Messages about climate change are most effective when they are grounded in clear information from trustworthy sources, when they lead to action rather than rejection, and when they are portrayed as being within rather than outside human control.”

The winning EJA story will be presented at the Earth Journalism Awards Ceremony in Copenhagen on December 14, just before the final three-day negotiations begin. You have until December 9 to cast your vote at http://awards.earthjournalism.org.

Just as an aside, as we get closer to Copenhagen, I can’t help thinking about that master storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen, whose little mermaid graces a rock in the city’s harbor.

What a poignant tale he might have written today.

Earth Journalism Awards


Kavita Watsa

Senior Operations Officer

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