The Boston Globe: The Face of Global Warming

No mere stats, charts, and grafs here: this was the human face of global warming.

Like "Plan Colombia," this article highlighted Project Word’s versatility. It involved a range of necessary services, from developmental editing to a photography package, to entrée to editors.

The melting of a glacier has depleted irrigation water for Kumik, in the north west Himalayas of India. Photo by Nicolas Villaume, 2009, from Conversations with the Earth.The melting of a glacier has depleted irrigation water for Kumik, in the north west Himalayas of India. Photo by Nicolas Villaume, 2009, from Conversations with the Earth.

From the start we strongly believed in the story, which originated as a project at the University of California-Berkeley. The writer, Jon Mingle, had learned the Zanskari language as a teacher in the northwest Himalayas. Later he returned for two more trips, which resulted in an intimate portrait of Zanskari villagers as part of a journalism course at the university. But he thought the story needed a fresh direction and guidance. So he contacted Project Word, signed up, developed the piece under the Project’s guidance, and hoped we would find it a home.

Numerous drafts and two rejections later, Mingle persevered. In November 2009, an editor in the Boston Globe's Ideas section recognized what Project Word saw in the work: insightful reporting from an indigenous community that deserved to be heard. Through his familiarity with the language and empathy with Zanskari culture, Mingle had managed to convey climate change from the perspective of an ancient village. Mingle portrayed people who, in deed and word, had something rare and valuable to say—not only about a melting glacier but also about adaptation and human resilience. Illustrated by the evocative photographs of Nicolas Villaume, the Zanskari’s message was as surprising as it was provocative, certainly judging by readers’ comments about the Boston Globe article.

Wed, 02/24/2010 - 10:32am