The Society of Environmental Journalists announced on Wednesday that ProPublica won the 2021 Nina Mason Pulliam Award. After reviewing the first-place winners of SEJ’s 2021 Awards for Reporting on the Environment, judges chose “Where Will Everyone Go? How Climate Refugees Might Move Across International Borders” as the “best of the best.”
“This exceptionally researched and reported series lays bare the alarming plight of climate refugees,” said Gene D’Adamo, president and CEO of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.
In “Where Will Everyone Go?” a story by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center, ProPublica environmental reporter Abrahm Lustgarten showed how climate refugees might move across international borders as climate change makes certain areas unlivable. Also contributing to the project were ProPublica staff members Al Shaw, deputy editor of news apps, and Lucas Waldron, a visual investigations producer, as well as independent photographers Meridith Kohut and Sergey Ponomarev.
In a series of stories that followed, Lustgarten examined the warming of the planet and how climate change is beginning to push a mass climate migration of Americans, shifting perhaps millions of people and changing the way the country looks and works. Using a first-of-its-kind mathematical model to forecast the effects of climate change on the movements of communities, the stories explored the future of a world shaped by climate-driven migration and shared the experiences of people for whom this displacement has already begun.
“This deeply reported and powerfully written series delivers a gut punch as it asks, and seeks to answer, some troubling questions about what will happen as a changing climate makes a growing number of places less amenable to human habitation,” the judges wrote. “Superb photography, video, mapping and graphics make for a stunning multimedia package. The takeaways are sobering, and sure to deepen readers’ understanding of the human consequences of failing to control emissions.”