The National Association of Science Writers announced Wednesday that ProPublica won the Science in Society Award in the Series category. The award recognizes investigative or interpretive reporting about the sciences and their impact on society.
“Where Will Everyone Go?” was a groundbreaking story series by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center, that explored the looming catastrophe of climate migration. Produced by ProPublica environmental reporter Abrahm Lustgarten, alongside Al Shaw, Meridith Kohut, Lucas Waldron and photographer Sergey Ponomarev, this mix of unprecedented data modeling, overseas reporting and personal storytelling constitutes one of the most ambitious journalism projects tackling one of the greatest issues of the 21st century.
The first story in the series was informed and propelled by arguably the most intensive modeling effort ever undertaken to examine the subject of global human migration. In partnership with a leading global climate modeler, and building off a data framework established by the World Bank, Lustgarten was able to estimate how people will respond to environmental and economic change, and to project their movements on a global scale.
The second story, “Climate Change Will Force a New American Migration,” explored the ways the United States will undergo transformative geographic change as the climate warms. Using exclusive climate data on wildfires, heat indexes, humidity, sea level rise and crop yields, it mapped for the first time where the greatest impacts would be felt across the country.
The final installment, “The Big Thaw: How Russia Could Dominate a Warming World,” was an arresting assessment of how Russia could reclaim its status as a true superpower in a warming world. Indeed, the article made clear that no country on the planet is better positioned than Russia to both transform its own economy and attract a needed workforce from around the globe as temperatures rise and once-frozen land becomes arable. It is a forecast posing the most vital of national security threats to the United States, for which the country is both underinformed and poorly prepared.
What most distinguished the work was the animating declaration that it was not too late for the world to avert the coming calamity. Migration can be managed; wars can be averted; millions don’t have to perish. Lustgarten’s work has prompted conversations about how to respond, and he has presented his reporting around the world for groups including the United Nations, UNICEF, the World Food Program, the World Bank, Columbia University, the New America Foundation and the Urban Land Institute.
Click here to see the full list of NASW winners.