By Bill Dawson
Texas Climate News
Texas Climate News is now 10 years old.
We are mighty happy about that achievement of course. To be frank, we had no idea whether our modest “magazine about climate and sustainability” would still be around in a year or two, much less a full decade after it was unveiled with precious little fanfare.
That it is still around – and forging ahead into an 11th year with no plans to stop doing what we do – is a testimony to the support of our foundation and individual donors; the valuable work of our editorial contributors and board members; and especially the interest of thousands of readers who visit our website because they find value in the independent, public-interest journalism that we produce.
TCN was launched at a historical moment – late 2008 – when the unsuccessful Republican candidate for president, John McCain, and his successful Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, had both run campaigns with quite similar expressions of serious concern about human-caused climate change and quite similar proposals for federal policy initiatives to attack it.
What a difference 10 years can make.
The Republican who sits in the White House today once (falsely) suggested that the concept of man-made climate change was a hoax concocted by China to hurt the United States. Recently, the president said he doesn’t believe the warning, prominently featured in a massive report by 13 federal agencies, that climate disruption due to human pollution will pose dire threats to the nation’s economy in just the next few decades.
All of which is simply to say that anyone who thought the relative accord between McCain and Obama on climate change signaled smooth sailing for proposals to deal with it – that it was the dawn of an amicable bipartisan collaboration to tackle what some experts call the greatest challenge that humanity has ever confronted – was not very good at political forecasting.
But then no one ever said history isn’t full of surprises. Not to mention science, which has produced and continues to produce an evolving and strengthening body of findings and conclusions. In a broad consensus, scientists worldwide say they indicate a need for sweeping, concerted action if the most damaging impacts of climate change are to be prevented.
One thing that has stayed the same over the past 10 years is TCN’s basic mission and commitment. Here’s how I expressed it in a note introducing this publication:
Our goal is to enhance Texas citizens’ knowledge and understanding of important developments in science, government, business, citizen action and other areas. We want to help inform the public dialogue that’s unfolding as Texans confront a changing climate and work to build more sustainable futures for themselves and their descendants.
This website will publish public-interest journalism, based on traditional journalistic principles of independent-mindedness, accuracy and fairness.
That sounds serious – and it is. Texas Climate News covers serious subjects. But news about climate change and sustainability doesn’t have to be unceasingly somber. We’ll certainly report on risks and problems. We’ll also examine new ideas and actions being forged to address them. We’ll highlight some of the people who are involved. And we’ll try to do it all in a lively and engaging way.
That pretty much sums up where we still stand today. Another thing that hasn’t changed since 2008 is the underlying need for our publication’s existence – the diminishing volume of serious reporting about serious topics like climate change as mainstream commercial news organizations, particularly newspapers, shed personnel. As I wrote about TCN when this publication was launched:
Nonprofit initiatives like this one are gearing up across the country in an effort to replace some of the public-affairs coverage that’s vanishing as commercial news organizations eliminate more and more jobs.
That’s still our aim – to examine an immensely important subject that unfortunately does not receive a commensurately large amount of coverage, despite all the worthy journalism that is produced about climate change by outlets big and small, for-profit and nonprofit.
One more thing (which you probably knew was coming if you’ve gotten this far):
As a tax-exempt nonprofit, Texas Climate News relies exclusively on foundations’ grants and individuals’ donations for the funding that’s necessary to publish our work. We don’t run ads. Never have. Never will. Nor will we allow anyone who helps us pay our bills to direct or influence our coverage in any way. We’re independent journalists, and all editorial decisions at TCN are made independently.
If that sounds like the sort of enterprise you’d like to support – if you think climate and sustainability are important topics and you find value in our journalism about them – please consider pitching in with a donation of your own. We publish this magazine with a decidedly modest budget and will deeply appreciate any monetary help you can provide.
You can securely make a tax-deductible donation through PayPal, using PayPal or a credit or debit card:
Or you can mail us a check payable to Texas Climate News:
Texas Climate News
3139 W. Holcombe Blvd. #570
Houston, TX 77025
But don’t worry. If you just read our work and don’t contribute financially, we’ll deeply appreciate that too.
Best wishes for a safe and happy 2019.
Bill Dawson is the founding editor of Texas Climate News.