Mumbai: We are happy to announce that IndiaSpend contributor Sushmita has won the 2024 Covering Climate Now Journalism Award for Justice.

Co-founded in 2019 by Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation magazine in association with the Guardian and WNYC, Covering Climate Now supports, convenes, and trains journalists and newsrooms to produce rigorous climate coverage that engages audiences.

Climate adaptation is part of national and state action plans, but they often ignore impacts on communities most affected by it, Sushmita reported for IndiaSpend in December 2023.

The story focused on Birjias, a particularly vulnerable tribal group living in Jharkhand’s Netarhat hills. Rising temperatures and lack of rainfall have forced many of them to migrate in search of work. The community does not receive work under the rural jobs programme, nor do they see drought relief funds.

Evidence from the state shows that, when supported, the communities devise adaptation measures that continue to help. But state and central action plans ignore the impact on communities, and funds for adaptation have declined over the years, the story found.

“In this great story by journalist Sushmita, we learn why these local efforts might be some groups’ best hope for weathering the difficulties to come,” the award citation reads.

Following the announcement, The Guardian wrote about the story in a report titled “‘Antidotes to despair’: five things we’ve learned from the world’s best climate journalists”. The report said that while solar, wind, storage batteries and other pillars of the green economy are growing, “less publicized are solutions emerging from the grassroots, including in some of the most climate-vulnerable locations on earth”.

Noting that better news coverage is itself an essential climate solution, the report said that without it, “there simply won’t be the mass awareness and public pressure to drive governments, business, and society as a whole to make the rapid, far-reaching changes required to preserve a liveable planet”.

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