The Walton Family Foundation has awarded my local newspapers, The Advocate (Nola.com) and the Times-Picayune, a little over $1 million grant to expand coastal and environmental reporting. The three-year grant will cover the cost of a four-member team based out of New Orleans. The money will be administered by the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Nola.com noted that both of these organizations have been supporting the newspapers’ coastal and environmental reporting for the last five years, and the initial grant covered two reporters. The subsequent one covered three and the newest one which started in January is the largest so far.
The reporting team covers topics that range from depleted fisheries to industrial pollution, as well as what can be done to mitigate our state’s eroding coastline.
Louisiana is on the forefront of climate change, and is also my home. Our state is incredibly beautiful, from the bayous and wildlife to the culture and people. The people here are strong and we know how to survive. Many often ask me why I choose to stay here after a hurricane. Personally, Louisiana is home. It’s also more affordable to live here than other places. In many cities, I’d faced homelessness while working two minimum wage jobs. Here, I can afford a decent apartment and live my life.
As for others, many have their own reasons. One core reason actually is poverty. During Hurricane Ida, there were so many stories of people trapped further South because they didn’t have a car or a way to evacuate. I also don’t have a car and consider myself fortunate that Baton Rouge didn’t get hit as hard as the rest of the state. Oh, we got hit hard, but not like Grand Isle or La Place.
With all of this being said, I think it’s important to uplift the journalists reporting from one of the forefronts of climate change, and this grant is doing exactly that.
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