In 2016, while Amy Goodman was covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock for Democracy Now!, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Most people might have been deterred by that threat. Not Goodman.
“I didn't take this arrest warrant personally,” she tells the Climate One audience. “It was a message sent to all journalists: do not come to North Dakota. Which is exactly why we had to be there.”
In the twenty-plus years that she has been producing the independent news program Democracy Now!, Goodman has never shied away from taking on powerful industries when bringing a story to the public. Rather, she has built her career on covering the grassroots activism and general muckraking that can catalyze change – as they did at Standing Rock.
About the DAP arrest, she says, she saw it as a call to arms. “I wanted to ensure that young journalists would not be afraid to go to cover this historic gathering around the fate of the planet, around sustaining our planet …to fear that they would be arrested if they went to cover this.”
Ken Kimmell brings the same tirelessness and tenacity to his work. Under his watch, UCS has led the charge in exposing the relationship between oil companies, climate change and climate denial, and is working to make those issues a priority in congress.
Goodman and Kimmell came to Climate One to discuss the intersection between science and the media, and the ways that activist journalism can push mainstream news outlets into broadening their coverage of climate change – coverage that is sorely lacking, both maintain.
Kimmell expressed frustration that the media still isn’t doing enough in this area, despite established consensus among the scientific community that storms like Harvey and Irma are being exacerbated by climate change.
“We see all these stories…about these severe weather events and the words climate change are hardly mentioned,” says Kimmell.
“I think [the media] really have an obligation to tell people two things,” he continues. “One, climate change has fingerprints on these events, and two, we are all paying for this right now in the billions and billions of dollars that it's going to cost to deal with all these disasters.
“People are still not really getting that it's affecting them right now. Not 20 years, not 50 years, right now. And it's affecting them if they’re victims of these events, but even if they're not.
“They’re gonna pay for all of this. We’re all gonna pay for all of this. And the media really needs to do a much better job of explaining that.”
– Anny Celsi