The United States has been a world leader in science for decades, both in investment and in the volume of published research. But now many countries beyond North America and Europe, including China, India, Japan and South Korea, have become research powerhouses in their own right.
Therefore, covering only US-based research would make readers of science news a detriment, since it does not reflect the reality of science as a human endeavor common to all cultures. Therefore, we are always looking for journalists in other countries who can report on science beyond our borders.
In this issue, science journalist Geoffrey Kamadi reports from Kenya on community efforts to restore mangrove forests, which can generate income from ecotourism and carbon offsets. Local residents conduct forest surveys and work with organizations in Kenya and elsewhere to analyze data and sell carbon credits to companies around the world seeking to offset their climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions. The proceeds support jobs and projects, including buying new schoolbooks and improving the community’s water supply.
To report the article, Kamadi took a seven-hour train ride from his home in Nairobi to the coastal city of Mombasa, and then a 45-minute taxi ride to the town of Gazi. She spent two days talking to residents and researchers and taking photos. “There’s a tangible effect to what they’re doing,” Kamadi told me over the phone. “In fact, they can see the results of their effort.”
Kamadi has always been fascinated by science, he says, which is why he decided to focus on it as a journalist. He has written for publications in Africa and beyond. In 2020, his article on how the destruction of a water catchment for a major river in Kenya is disrupting lives downstream won an AAAS Kavli Gold science journalism award. “Science is about discovering the truth,” he says. “It’s about explaining things and providing solutions to things that we humans face.”
Some of our other recent featured international coverage includes Sibi Arasu’s May cover story on how Indian farmers are adopting technologies to reduce their carbon footprint and generate income (NS: 5/7/22 and 5/21/22, p. 36); Yao-Hua Law’s night expedition to report on The elusive “flying lemurs” of Malaysia (SN: 11/21/20, pg. 22); and the report by Meghie Rodrigues from Brazil on a city’s efforts to vaccinate all of its adult residents against COVID-19 (SN online: 2/6/21).
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