Turning environmental issues into stories

Image from Thank You For The Rain – Directed by Julia Dahr for Banyak Films


Last year was one of the hottest years on record. The past four years in fact have seen global temperatures at their highest – a direct result of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

But what does that mean for people and the planet? These environmental declarations can too easily feel intangible and distant.

In order to engage audiences and shift opinion, people need to feel it, not just know it.


Whether it’s the rise in plastic pollution, carbon emissions or trophy hunting, filmmakers and journalists are showing us that environmental issues are a truly global story that have a stark and ongoing social impact.

A coal plant in one part of the world not only has direct impact on the environment of the local community, but also on drought and floods for Malawian and Kenyan farmers, or rising sea levels for Pacific Islanders.

We have seen from past Award entries the power of media to make environmental topics real and immediate for audiences by making links that are hard to otherwise see. Particularly where cause and effect are not always obvious.

In Gethlin Chamberlin’s article for The Guardian Why climate change is creating a new generation of child brides, he reveals the complex and often surprising implications of a changing climate. Through interviews from new brides in Malawi as young as 13, we see the difficult life-changing choices families are making because the rivers are no longer flowing.

Similarly, in Julia Dahr’s film Thank You For The Rain, a Kenyan farmer uses his camera to capture the life of his family, his village and the damages of climate change. By handing the camera to Kisilu we are able see an intimate journey from farmer to community leader and then global climate activist.

Filmmakers and journalists are able to show us that “green issues” are not something separate and other, and help to highlight the fact that these stories are fundamentally about people and our connection – for good and bad – to the environment.

At One World Media, we champion and support media that has the power to provoke change. As such, this year we are excited to be introducing our new One World Media Environmental Reporting Award, which will shine a light on pieces that reveal complex environmental problems with creativity and integrity. Media that turns issues into stories. We are also holding a fantastic full day ‘Reporting with Impact’ industry day event, focusing on environmental reporting, with a whole host of special guests and industry experts!


Guest blog by Gemma Bradshaw – Director of One World Media

Enter the One World Media Awards 2019       Book Tickets to ‘Reporting with Impact’