5th Biophilia Award for Environmental Communication

Digital media organization Mongabay received the BBVA Foundation’s 5th Biophilia Award for Environmental Communication in October 2023 “for its outstanding track record in communicating on nature and biodiversity conservation, especially in the countries of the Global South, thanks to the contributions of over 800 journalists, scientists and other correspondents in more than 80 countries and six languages,” said the committee in its citation. On February 19, Rhett A. Butler, the founder and CEO of Mongabay, will formally accept this recognition on its behalf at a ceremony during which he will present his vision on the global environmental crisis.

This talk will analyze the increasing degradation of the environment worldwide, reflected in facts such as that 2023 was the hottest year on record and species extinction rates have soared to at least 1,000 times above normal. These alarming statistics could easily lead to despair and inaction, but Butler will argue that there is still room for hope, fuelled by the stories that Mongabay’s global network of reporters are delivering from Nature’s frontline.

The aim of the lecture is to present emerging trends that could help mitigate the environmental crisis through what Butler calls ‘solutions journalism’, focusing on effective and innovative strategies that can help us tackle the major challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. In contrast to the ‘apocalyptic’ narratives that often characterize environmental communication, solutions journalism doesn’t just report on the problems; it illuminates the path forward.