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SEJournal Online is the weekly digital news magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists. SEJ members are automatically subscribed. Non-members may subscribe using the link below. Meanwhile, learn more about SEJournal Online. And send questions, comments, story ideas, articles, news briefs and tips to Editor Adam Glenn at sejournaleditor@sej.org.

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November 24, 2021

  • The massive infrastructure measure signed into law last week is a potential mother lode of stories for environmental journalists. If that is, they can figure out where the money is going. The latest TipSheet takes an initial look at the $1.2 trillion plan and offers guidance on how to track down reportable local and regional projects.

  • It was a seemingly mundane legal notice about a surface water discharge permit. But when Wyoming journalist Angus Thuermer Jr. took a closer look, he discovered that it would mean massive discharges of pollutants into local waters. Inside Story explains how Thuermer revealed the truth about the plans, prompting local protests and, ultimately, a withdrawal of the permit.

November 17, 2021

  • A new project on toxic risks has yielded a tool making it far easier to use data from the Toxics Release Inventory to report on hotspots. Reporter’s Toolbox offers a guide to ProPublica’s impressive “Sacrifice Zones” special report, which maps cancer-causing industrial air pollution. Plus, join an in-depth virtual tutorial on the ProPublica tool co-sponsored by the Society of Environmental Journalists.

  • A new volume by renowned climate communicator Katharine Hayhoe argues for a new way of talking about climate change that seeks common ground, greater respect and an effort to show how nearly everyone is affected. BookShelf editor Tom Henry reviews Hayhoe’s “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World” and its hopeful message.

  • Freedom of access to government scientists is just one narrow facet in a worsening crisis in scientific integrity at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The new WatchDog Opinion argues that whether it’s about self-interested industry lobbying over climate change or the regulation of chemicals, there’s an assault on science itself  — and the news media has a role to play.

November 10, 2021

  • A government plan to address a class of so-called “forever chemicals,” widespread in the environment and implicated in human health effects, will pick up speed in 2022. But whether the effort will solve problems around PFAS remains to be seen. The latest TipSheet outlines the challenge, the EPA plan and smart ways to cover the story in your area.

  • After an 18-month buildup, a one-day U.N. Food Systems Summit earlier this fall generated hundreds of commitments to end global hunger and a dizzying array of alliances dedicated to the cause. Despite controversies surrounding the summit, this groundbreaking event highlighted opportunities for reporting on food and food systems. Award-winning agriculture journalist Chris Clayton shares his insights.

  • Conserving crop diversity is a key to maintaining global food security, especially in the face of climate change. To understand those efforts, Portland, Ore.-based freelancer Virginia Gewin traveled to South America, supported by a grant from the Society of Environmental Journalists, to find out how Peruvian chefs and Amazon dwellers hope to save the rainforest by sharing native and wild foods.

November 3, 2021

  • The COVID-19 outbreak has left little unchanged — including how environment reporters do their jobs, given that many experts believe the disruption of the human-wild interface could be the source of the next deadly virus. The new Backgrounder makes the case in this analysis, looking at how societies — and journalists — handled this pandemic and must prepare for possible future outbreaks.

  • Public data around environmental issues has been a thing at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for decades, ... except when it hasn’t. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox looks at how data transparency is back in fashion under the Biden EPA, and the many ways that environmental journalists can build on available datasets for their coverage.

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