How to Become an Environmental Writer

Ecology is becoming one of the main topics in the world media. How do you identify current issues concerning and how to choose the right words to convey information to your audience as correctly as possible?

There are many challenges the world is facing today. These are problems that need to be solved immediately. Pollution of the ozone layer, exhaustion of the freshwater supply, climate change and global warming, pollution of the world’s oceans, depletion of natural resources, destruction of flora and fauna — these are all topics that you, as a paper writer, can cover to get the world talking about them and taking action.

How to Become an Environmental Writer

Where can I study to become an environmental writer?

You won’t find this kind of specialization at any institution. The first step to achieving your goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Environmental writers typically earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, English, or writing. In parallel with their university studies, they additionally learn ecology and related sciences. They choose a vector at the beginning of their studies and follow it. Other environmental writers have earned a degree in ecology or related fields but have still studied writing. Classes in biology, chemistry, geography, earth science, and engineering are also useful for developing a deep understanding of environmental issues.

How to interest the public?

Writers often encounter such difficulty as a lack of interest from the audience. Not everyone is willing to read about ecology or watch TV programs about environmental protection, especially if it happens somewhere far away. How can you change this?

The reader needs to understand how the problem the writer describes affects them personally, how they can get sick if they breathe dirty air, and how water quality will affect their health and their children’s health. An emotional response is what generates real interest. So write about what is happening in your country, right under your nose, and relevant to everyone in your country.

It is important not just to describe the news but to present the situation more broadly. Keep in mind different contexts: religious, political, strategic, cultural, how it will affect water and food quality, flora and fauna. It is important to remember the international context as well.

How to prove the correlation?

The data that writers and scientists working in this field have to work with is often modeled. We don’t know exactly how it will or could be, but we model the situation based on all the information we currently know.

For example, we know that it takes 700-1000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. But this data is modeled because, in fact, none of us have observed the same bag for a thousand years to draw that conclusion from personal experience.

Air is the “invisible killer.” Approximately two million people in the world die each year from heart disease worsened by polluted air. It can be as much about harmful emissions from factories and plants as it is about, for example, cutting down the forests that used to purify the air. But how do we prove this correlation if we know that ecology is a process?

environmental education

You, as a writer, can use infographics. You need to take data on the number of hospital admissions for heart disease in a particular city A over a certain period, and the data on the number of businesses built and run, or – the number of green spaces cut down over the same period. Then try overlaying these graphs one on top of the other, and you can see how much one really correlates with the other.

Act, not react

The function of an environment writer is not to react but to act. Don’t wait until a disaster has already happened and react to it as an established fact. Act before then, before it’s too late. Write about the problem before it becomes a disaster or an accident. Talk about the conflict of interest, the violations that have been committed, and explain what it could all lead to. Perhaps, then you can avoid disaster and tragedy.

Where to find topics for materials

One option is a calendar of events from the UN. There you can find information about days like Earth Day, Water Day, and so on, and prepare your materials in advance. The UN also publishes its own statistics that you can use in your publications. Of course, you should also monitor news feeds and cooperate with scientists.

there is no planet b

Where do I publish my papers?

It is always difficult for novice writers to find a place to publish their first essays. For starters, you can start with campus newspapers and magazines to add to your portfolio. You can get a job at some newspaper or magazine, or you can try your hand at working remotely by publishing your articles on a variety of websites devoted to the topic. The main thing is not to be afraid to press the “submit” button and not to get upset if you get rejected.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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