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Local Edition

Reported by Climate Confidential

What’s the most important environmental story in your town? Every community has an environmental story waiting to be told. Back this project to get an up-close-and-personal look at how communities around the world are addressing today’s big climate issues with grit and creativity, despite limited resources.

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*This project is live and producing stories.
★ DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT ★ A backer will match every dollar you pledge, up to $2,500 in total.

Environmental stories are local stories.

From the effects of climate change on coastal communities to counties weighing water-use policies and towns wrestling with hard choices about development, environmental stories touch our lives every day. These critical issues will shape the future of communities large and small. But local media around the country increasingly lack the resources to cover them in depth. That’s why Climate Confidential is launching Local Edition, a new series of stories produced in partnership with local newspapers and media.

Each month, we cover one topic from a variety of angles; with Local Edition, we’ll add community perspective to the line-up. Providing an in-depth look at the successes and challenges that communities are facing can both deepen the conversations happening at the local level and amplify the impact of these stories on developing new solutions to the global climate, energy, and water challenges that every one of us is facing.

Since we launched on Beacon in April, more than 850 subscribers have backed our work, helping us produce more than 20 in-depth stories on pressing environmental issues. Now, we’re ready to launch new, groundbreaking partnerships with local media organizations around the world, but we need your help. All we need to get started is $5,000.

☆ ☆ Featured Partner ☆ ☆

Throughout the month of July, we’ll be introducing our partners. Back our project to unlock funding for more partnerships like this one!

Meet Winifred Bird - The Japan Times

Winifred Bird has spent a decade living and reporting in Japan. Although she recently returned to the U.S., Winnie continues to report on Japan and split her time between the two countries. In 2011 she was a media fellow at the Vermont Law School and in the summer of 2012, she received a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism for an in-depth, collaborative reporting project on the impacts of the Fukushima disaster. In partnership with Climate Confidential and The Japan Times, she will be taking an in-depth look at how Japan’s declining population is affecting various environmental issues in the country, for Climate Confidential’s “Population” issue in November 2014.

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“The growth of population is a major factor behind climate change today,” reads the introduction to a recent Worldwatch report. But is the reverse also true? As birth rates fall population is starting to shrink in dozens of countries around the world. Can we expect reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or expansion of carbon-sucking forests and fields to follow?

Winnie says: “A look at Japan, one of the largest countries to begin contracting, suggests that the reality is much more complex. Projections suggest that Japan will lose the equivalent of a city larger than Boston each year for the next fifty years, amounting to nearly a third of overall population by 2060. It’s not an outlier: the UN predicts a similar path for South Korea and China starting around 2025. In a recent study, however, University of Sheffield population expert Peter Matanle found that per capita energy use in depopulating Japanese regions is rising faster than in regions that are growing, canceling out many of the expected gains. One reason is that when depopulation happens without appropriate urban planning, people often have to drive farther or use more resources to maintain the same lifestyle. Greenhouse-gas-intensive infrastructure doesn’t automatically contract alongside population.”

Japan’s decrease in population has largely been reported as a negative, with news stories tending to focus on a lack of economic development and the burden of an aging population. Winnie will delve into whether the decrease has delivered, or might deliver, any positives on the environment front, and will use her language skills and connections to talk to a variety of local officials and experts to unpack the complexities of the climate change-and-population connection.

Meet Elizabeth Case - Davis Enterprise

Elizabeth Case covers agriculture and the environment for the Davis Enterprise, located just outside Sacramento, California. She was a 2013 AAAS Mass Media Fellow at the Oregonian. In partnership with Climate Confidential, Elizabeth will provide an in-depth look at restoration efforts for Putah Creek, an important source of water for fish and farms in Yolo and Solano counties (for which it provides a natural border).

Twenty years ago, it dried into a bed of stinking mud and fish carcasses when flows were diverted entirely to Solano County for two weeks. In 2000, a lawsuit against a number of Solano County water interests guaranteed permanent environmental flows for the creek from the Monticello dam to the Yolo Bypass.

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Since then, at least $10 million in restoration efforts along the creek, including a massive overhaul near Winters, have successfully restored habitat and fish populations and are serving as examples for larger projects like the San Joaquin River Restoration.

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Elizabeth says: “It’s a project of extraordinary local importance that exemplifies ongoing riparian projects around the country. Too many counties have dry or polluted rivers; Putah Creek is an example of where citizen action changed the course of the creek, literally. Our paper has neither the technical resources nor the funding for a project as substantial as an overview of 15 years of restoration work.”

With your help, Climate Confidential will work with Elizabeth to highlight the successes and challenges of these efforts, complete with maps, photographs, and other elements that will bring this story to life and provide lessons for other communities around the country.

Why should I support local partnerships?

✓ Learn how local communities are responding to global issues. This is reader-supported journalism at its most direct. Over the past few months, our readers have asked for more coverage of environmental stories in the places they live. We’re lining those up, and partnerships will help us cast a wider net to bring in stories of impact from around the world.

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✓ Your dollars go farther. News organizations around the country are struggling to cover the costs of quality reporting, and journalists are stretched thin. You’ll be helping organizations’ limited budgets go further and giving them access to peer-to-peer collaboration, an international platform, and new tools for multimedia storytelling.

✓ Bring new voices into the global climate change conversation. Local journalists have their ears to the ground in their communities and know what important stories need to be told. Solutions, emerging crises, they’re all happening at the local level.

✓ It’s not just partnerships. You’ll also be supporting the other work that Climate Confidential is doing to tell stories about the role of technology in creating solution to environmental problems. And as always, by backing this project, you’ll get open access to all of the great work happening on Beacon.

Want to partner with us?

We’ll be adding new reporters as we raise more funds and hear about important, under-the-radar stories. Interested in participating? Drop us an email at team@climateconfidential.com.

The Final 24 Hours!

July 30 at 9:31 pm

Local Edition is 86 percent funded, and needs just $350 more to hit the goal! Every dollar of that gets matched by Beacon, so be sure to share this link:

http://www.beaconreader.com/projects/local-edition

And help get this funded! Thanks for your support.


The latest Local Edition partner!

July 29 at 12:59 am

Meet Winnifred Bird!

Winnifred Bird has spent a decade living and reporting in Japan. Although she recently returned to the U.S., Winnie continues to report on Japan and split her time between the two countries. In 2011 she was a media fellow at the Vermont Law School and in the summer of 2012, she received a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism for an in-depth, collaborative reporting project on the impacts of the Fukushima disaster. In partnership with Climate Confidential and The Japan Times, she will be taking an in-depth look at how Japan’s declining population is affecting various environmental issues in the country, for Climate Confidential’s “Population” issue in November 2014.

The deadline to get Local Edition funded is just a few days away. To make stories like this possible, share this page with your family, friends and on social media. Every share helps, and helps to enable Climate Confidential’s great journalism.


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In addition to the Climate Confidential T-shirt, you’ll get a postcard from each writer in the Local Edition series as thanks. You’ll also get a year-long subscription as part of your pledge.
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Your pledge at this level enables a member of the Climate Confidential team to join a reporter on the ground to collaborate and help tell these stories even better. You’ll also get a year-long subscription, a shirt and the postcard series as part of this pledge.
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Climate Confidential BIOGRAPHY

We are a collective of seasoned freelance journalists with a combined 90 years of experience covering environmental issues and technology development for some of the country’s leading newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Smithsonian, The Economist, Wired, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. But more than that, we are a group of storytellers whose talents and interests dovetail at a time and place where rapid changes — from a melting Arctic to a blossoming of renewable energy projects — give our reporting urgency.

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