Eric Holthaus: “For too long, our conversations about the climate have been filled with despair”
Our new Climate correspondent explains why he’s joining The Correspondent
When I became a scientist, I never intended to study climate.
When I started studying climate, I never intended to become a journalist.
When I became a journalist, I never thought I’d have an opportunity like this.
That’s what this moment in history requires of us: to be open to re-examining our expectations and to prepare for as-of-yet unimaginable opportunities for a better future.
For too long, our conversations about the climate emergency have been filled with blinding denial, existential dread and the inevitability of disaster. If we remain entrenched in this context, it’s clear that the cards are stacked against us — all of us — but especially the vast majority of people in the world who have done precious little to cause this problem.
I firmly believe that in order to radically change our path as a species, and as a planet, we’ve got to change the entire system that’s brought us to this point. There is no chance of decarbonising the entire world economy, at breakneck speed, if we don’t have a clear vision of the futures we are working toward. Along with the righteous anger we feel about our extractive and unjust systems, we need radical hope that a better world is possible.
For years, I’ve been trying to find my place in journalism, where I can cover this inherently uncomfortable moment with great rigour, and without losing sight of the need to balance anger and hope. At The Correspondent, I’ve finally found a home that’s perfectly suited to telling some of the most important stories of our time.
At The Correspondent, I’ll be telling stories that are collaborative, constructive, and transnational — essential elements that are almost totally absent from most climate journalism. I’ll be able to model low-carbon reporting by trusting our extensive and global membership network to share their expertise and contribute to uncovering the truth about how people in power around the world are complicit with the fossil fuel industry.
I’ll be able to draw bold and controversial conclusions from what we discover together. We already know in our hearts the kind of world we want and we deserve — the kind of world that works for everyone. I’ll be giving a platform to voices who have been systematically excluded from the discussion: youth, indigenous people, people of colour, and those from the global south. And I’ll be able to tell these stories in a way that’s not only multinational but breaks down borders altogether, by drawing out insights that will connect us as humans sharing one small, beautiful planet.
We are on this journey together, toward a world that will be radically different in our lifetimes — no matter what we choose to do in these critical years to come. The unique opportunity to help foster necessary conversations about the kind of civilisation we are creating is why I am joining The Correspondent.
Eric tweets a daily chronicle of the climate emergency at @EricHolthaus. You can also follow his personal journey of reporting on the emergency as a human, a father, and a Minnesotan on Instagram at @erholthaus.
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