The hell I'm doing here?
It's really cool to see the journalism industry take climate change seriously. I mean, apart from media outlets the world over strengthening their climate desks and reportage, there are so many organizations giving workshops and trainings for it, I am honestly so encouraged.
I just came from the pilot run of the International Media Support x Unesco's environmental and climate change reporting training in Indonesia, where they gathered Southeast Asian journalists to talk about climate reporting, strategies, and investigations and I swear there were times when I felt like a tumbleweed blown into the scene. The hell I'm doing here?
I trace my steps back to when it all started: In 2021 when I started getting bogged down my extreme weather events only for my boss to offer me a climate-related documentary series that felt like relief. I begin to consider that maybe it began earlier in the '80s, when I learned about the ozone layer, in college when I took up Environmental Science because it fit my schedule so well and I first heard about sustainable development. Maybe it happened after college, when I gave up my car to help with the pollution and the traffic. Maybe they all led me to here.
When I begin feeling inferior and lost, I remind myself of having accomplished six months with OCJN, of the stories I've written, and the videos I've helped produce. I wish I had an award I could remind myself with, and maybe that is the next chapter of this climate journalism story, but also maybe I am getting ahead of myself?
In Indonesia, I met a lot of serious journalists who were neck-deep in investigations and I cannot help but notice the dazed look on the myself in many pictures from the bootcamp.
There was the team from Narasi, who astounded all of us with their investigations, and with their use of OSINT. There was Atom, a Filipino journalist who immediately found use to all the geo-sensing tools and maps and what-have-you in his work. And there was of course the French journalist Alex, who was so stern and strict, that instead of following his long-ass lecture, I began to wonder if my approach to climate journalism was wrong.
I've lost enthusiasm in "hard" reporting, if I'm being honest. I know I'll probably eat my words in the future but the grandiosity and ego on display just don't cut it for me anymore. In 2021, when we created the Generation Restoration documentary series, I knew instinctively that we needed to be solutions-focused and pro-active.
So attending these workshops and hearing speakers say solutions are necessary in climate reportage, make me feel validated to say the least. I'm not too bad after all.
At the bootcamp in fact, I found myself having something to say. I was even leading our team in discussions and group work.
So what is the point of all this yadda yadda?
That there is still so much more to learn, that there is no one way of doing climate journalism, that everybody now needs to get their act together, and that slowly, people, well, journalists, are getting their acts together.
Two things at the bootcamp that made a dent on me. First: Watching the film 'Delikado.' I was really struck by the short scene of an IP member, who emphasized her tribe's relations with the earth, how they treated the land as their family.
I couldn't help but feel like this is how and where we can start solving the climate crisis: If only more of us realized our close relations to earth.
Closer to home, I think if only more Filipinos took pride in our land, then we wouldn't be taking it for granted. If only more Filipinos knew how rich and beautiful our country is, then we would be taking care of it better.
It was the weird sensation I felt back in 2021, when my family and I went to El Nido after the long lockdowns that I felt it. If only more people realized how rich and beautiful the Philippines is.
The second thing was visiting the botanical gardens. It's a sprawling piece of land that's impossible to appreciate on foot but just being surrounded by nature was... comforting?
When Henrik said "back to nature" as he posted a photo of trees on WA, I thought: Isn't this the point to what we are doing, especially climate journalism?
To point people back to nature. To show that nature and ourselves are one and the same. That no matter where and how you look at it, we need to go back to ourselves.
I wish more people realized this. I guess that's my job.