Reporter’s diary: forest journalists cover the globeNo comments
For journalists from the least developed countries — like mine, Nepal — it is hard to make our own way to cover international meetings.
Our media houses rarely fund such trips, especially to report on the environment which our editors give low priority to.
For us journalists, this can make work in our newsrooms frustrating, but when we do get to travel we realize that the environment beat is not neglected worldwide.
When I travelled to the UN climate change conference in Durban last month — with a fellowship from the Climate Change Media Partnership — I was amazed.
Whichever way I turned my head in the media centre, I could meet new journalist friends from every continent on Earth.
At the cafeteria nearby I could chat with experienced environment reporters from around the world – people whose articles form part of my daily diet in my newsroom back home.
I am not exaggerating when I say that reporting on the UN climate change talks is one of the best experiences an environment journalist could ever have. Suddenly it seems as if everyone in the world talks only about forests, water and climate.
My fellowship was funded by the Growing Forest Partnerships initiative, whose journalism programme I work for in Nepal.
The two week meeting was an amazing opportunity for me to develop the knowledge and skills I apply to that role by learning and networking with people from around the world.
Forests are everywhere at the climate change conference. From the entrance gate to the large exhibition hall and in negotiating rooms themselves, people are talking about trees.
Outside of the conference centre too, I learnt about the forests and how hard it is to generate new ones.
At the Buffelsdraai landfill site, operated by Durban municipality at the outskirts of the city, I visited an innovative project has helped women from local communities become “tree-preneurs“.
They sell seedlings of indigenous species to the municipality which then plants them across hundreds of hectares of former sugar cane fields.
The trip to Durban counted a lot for me as it provided an opportunity to learn and make new friends, to report back to local audiences in Nepal about the global talks and gain international exposure for my stories.
For any environment journalist in a dilemma about whether to continue their profession, this kind of meeting can inspire optimism. Amid the swirling politics, we can see the world coming together to discuss how forests, water and climate are all important for our future.
These are the stories we must keep telling.