Also: Fighting for those who have no voice; death by many cuts

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A round-up of reporting from our grantees, upcoming events, and news from the Pulitzer Center

Ida’s Wrath, Fires Out West, Your Own Backyard

That Hurricane Ida proved as deadly to basement tenants in Queens as to the residents of southwest Louisiana was stunning proof that no one is safe from the extreme-weather effects of climate change—and that all of us need to look hard close to home, at the risks confronting our own communities and what we are doing to prepare.

That was very much our intent two years ago, when we launched Connected Coastlines, an initiative aimed at helping regional news organizations raise the level of science-backed climate reporting. 

Of the nearly 130 stories that have appeared thus far, some of the most impressive projects have been deep-dive explorations of entire regions. EcoRI News has published a summer-long series. It documents from multiple angles the increasingly daunting battle of the “Ocean State,” Rhode Island, against sea-level rise (a battle with increasingly long odds, even for uber-wealthy celebrity residents like Taylor Swift).  A multi-part series publishing this week in the Anchorage Daily News reports on the sudden collapse of salmon runs on the lower Yukon. The July profile for Southerly on Grand Isle, Louisiana’s last inhabited barrier island, was an eerie preview of the wreckage Ida would shortly bring.

One project especially close to home for me has been Justin Cook’s Tide and Time, a haunting portrait in photography and words of the fragile, threatened barrier islands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. My dad grew up in eastern North Carolina and I’ve been visiting the Outer Banks my entire life—long enough to remember when there was nothing but an unpaved road between Duck and Corolla, the stretch now chock-a-block with million-dollar homes perched precariously along an ever-rising sea. 

Cook’s focus is on the families who have lived along the Outer Banks for generations, struggling to maintain a foothold there amid shifting sands, over-development, and a beloved cemetery that is slowly being sucked in by the sea. He cites philosopher Glenn Albrecht on solastalgia: “the sense of loss, homesickness, and distress specifically caused by environmental change around someone’s home, that and a sense of powerlessness over that change.”

I’m grateful to Cook and to all our Connected Coastlines grantees for telling these stories, close to home—and for reminding us that by working together we do have the power to protect these environments that are so precious to so many.

All Best,

Jon Sawyer
Executive Director

Photo: Taylor Swift built a massive seawall for her mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Image from ecoRI News.
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After a Pulitzer Center-supported investigation by WBUR and ProPublica into civil asset forfeiture, lawmakers and criminal justice reform advocates are calling for changes to the way the state seizes and holds property confiscated in suspected drug crimes. These calls come after the investigation found that one of the state’s top prosecutors was stockpiling money even after people were cleared of crimes.


Tide and Time | Public Photo Exhibit on Hatteras Island

September 16, 9:00am EDT
Salvo Day Use Area
September 23, 12:00pm EDT
Virtual Event


USA Today
‘It’s Like My Mother Is Drowning in Front of Me’: Afghans Abroad Feel Desperate, Helpless for Those Left Behind
Lawrence Andrea 

Earth Island Journal
Death by Many Cuts
Agostino Petroni 

The Christian Science Monitor 
‘Are We Not Humans?’ Pakistan’s Domestic Workers Confront Abuse
Shakeeb Asrar

Sergei Bigel: 'I Was Beaten; They Wanted to Burn Hair on My Head'
Vitold Jančis 

Pulitzer Center
‘Fighting for Those Who Have No Voice’: A Researcher Devoted to Neglected Diseases in the Face of the Pandemic
Natalie Wodniak

‘Keep Calm; I’m a Lesbian’
Elena Stancu 

Pulitzer Center
Frequently Asked Questions: Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Zhiwei Hua 

Pulitzer Center 
A Rohingya Truck Driver: A Long Road Ahead
Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque

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