The World’s Leading Environmental Journalists Meet in Fort Collins, Colorado

The World’s Leading Environmental Journalists Meet in Fort Collins, Colorado

Yesterday, the world’s largest gathering of environmental journalists convened in the state of Colorado. The five-day conference will focus on a number of environmental issues.

On Wednesday of this week, the Society of Environmental Journalists’ 29th Annual Conference kicks off its five-day conference at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Journalists are coming from all over the world to talk climate change, energy development, water scarcity, population growth, and environmental health.

Talking about “the environment” includes a number of topics, and in our interconnected world, the number of relevant issues continues to grow. The SEJ’s Annual Conference this year will address the biggest of the topics that environmental journalists cover; but, it will put a particular focus on the strain explosive growth in recent decades has placed on environmental health and sustainability goals, according to one EHN article.

“These are themes and topics central to this region—and to the rest of the country and the world,” write conference co-chairs Susan Moran and Joshua Zaffos.

The SEJ conference has been an annual occurrence since 1991, and they started in Colorado. The state’s “purple” political status—hosting a varied mix of residents with differing opinions on land and water—make Colorado a good and challenging place to host environmental discussions. With the Rocky Mountains in the distance and the Great Plains stretching eastward, Fort Collins is one of the most idyllic locations for environmental discussions.

In attendance will be many national and international journalists, environmental officials, and environmental outlets. senior editor Brian Bienkowski will host a Saturday panel on environmental justice and harmful chemical exposures. A quick summary of the schedule is as follows:

Wednesday focused on workshops on Indian Country and climate, among other topics. Thursday will address reporting trips to the state’s oil and gas fields, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Rocky Mountain National Park, among other destinations. Friday and Saturday are dedicated to plenary and concurrent sessions, including sessions on environmental justice and endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure. Sunday finished the conference with appearances from authors and discussions about books and botany.

Because the conference is taking place in Colorado, and because Colorado has such a “purple” stance when it comes to environmental policies, the conference will address the state’s oil and drilling industry. Since the first SEJ conference 28 years ago, Colorado’s population has skyrocketed, and officials are struggling to balance demands for more development while securing human and environmental health.

This is causing some notable problems, as some newly built neighborhoods butt right up against oil and gas wells, a number of dam and water-development projects are under consideration, and the last decade has seen massive fires and floods that have cost lives and dollars.

The SEJ conference this year will focus on some of Colorado’s most pressing environmental issues while also tackling global discussions related to environmental journalism.

To see the full agenda, see SEJ’s webpage on the event.

Want to follow the event and the chatter? Track the hashtag #SEJ2019.

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