Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but it feels a world away. As if the coronavirus wasn’t enough, now Nova Scotia is in a state of mourning. We are struggling to make sense of the senseless, to understand the unthinkable. How are we supposed to pay attention to the climate crisis?
The Coast is part of a project called Covering Climate Now, a partnership of media organizations committed to bringing attention to "the defining story of our time." Last September, in the lead-up to a big UN climate summit, we joined CCNow partners doing a week of special climate coverage.
It was such a success, in February the partnership started talking about another week of climate stories around Earth Day, at that point more than 10 weeks away. Imagine 400 news outlets around the world, with a total audience of about two billion people, shining a spotlight on climate.
So much for best-laid plans.
At the beginning of April, CCNow leadership decided to carry on with the dedicated coverage week despite, or maybe because of, COVID-19. "We believe it’s critical to remind the public and policymakers alike that both of these crises pose deadly threats to humanity and overlap in many ways, including the need to respect science, to intervene early and strongly to 'flatten the curve,' and to prepare for impacts that can’t be avoided," reads the rousing email to CCNow partners.
"The coronavirus reminds us of our profound responsibilities as journalists."
The Coast agrees. There are many parallels between the emergencies of climate and coronavirus, including the heartening realization that the people of the world can work together against a shared threat, can radically change behaviour overnight, can wake up. We were looking forward to publishing stories about climate in Nova Scotia as part of this global journalistic effort.
That plan was cancelled by this weekend’s mass killings. We have limited reporting resources, and they are now devoted to helping explain an inexplicable tragedy. Our top journalistic responsibility is clear.
However, as a CCNow partner we are allowed to publish stories produced by other media outlets in the network. Doing so is a simple process that doesn’t take away from our other reporting, and it strengthens CCNow’s worthy mission. So we are going to run some of these stories here on the site, building up a curated assortment of reading that might be a welcome diversion next week. Or next month. Or whenever you’re ready to think about one of the other defining stories of our time.
Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.