Multiple Award-winning Journalist and Author

My work is featured in publications around the world including National Geographic,  The Guardian (UK),  Vice Motherboard,  Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS), Changing America (The Hill), Ensia, Al Jazeera, New Scientist, The Ecologist, Mo Magazine (Brussels), TerraGreen (India), Toronto Star, Maclean’s Magazine, China Dialogue, Earth Island Journal, Narwal and many more.

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 6.09.39 PMWinner of the 2018 & 2019 SEAL Award for Environmental Journalism celebrating my work in documenting climate change impacts and solutions
at National Geographic and Vice.  Previous winners have included  journalists from the Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post.

“Environmental journalism matters now more than ever.” — Matt Harney, Founder, SEAL Awards.

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Navigating this Decade of Change & Consequence

What do we all need to know at this time of pandemic, existential crisis of climate change and unravelling of nature’s life supports? Not to mention, a time of political, social and technological upheaval? What do we need to know to get through all of this and come out smiling on the other side?

And what do we need to know to help us get through each day?

Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter: Need to Know: Science and Insight

This is where you’ll find my latest work based on interviews with some of the smartest and wisest people on the planet, combined with my 25 years of writing and reporting on need to know issues.

Stephen

 

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SPEAKER: I’ve spoken 
at dozens of events both large and small from keynotes to pub talks.  Click here for more.  

“Stephen is…a favourite of our audiences. He’s able to make complex issues seem
simple without taking anything away from the urgency and importance of
his message.”
– David Leonard, Director of Canada’s premiere talk series: Walrus Talks 

CONTACT

If you’d like to support my work as an independent journalist working in the public interest this link will take you to PayPal.Me for secure donations by credit card  

To contact me please click this link and fill out the form at the bottom.  Yes, this really works and I will reply — Stephen.

Pandemic Hacks: Feel Better, Safer and more in Control

This is part of a series from the World Health Organization

We’re all facing a very tough two or three months right now with the worsening pandemic, economic uncertainty, political messes, winter weather, etc. The COVID-19 vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel but we’re still deep inside a pretty dark tunnel. Right now it looks like a damn steep climb to get the end and into the light. 

In this free issue of Need to Know: Science and Insight I‘ve collected ideas, tips and ‘hacks’ to help us get through the next few months. Please do share: https://leahy.substack.com\

Focusing on things we can’t control like politics, climate change, the weather and so on leads to anger, frustration and depression. The ancient Greeks recognized that trying to control the uncontrollable, including trying to control the future, was the main source of our misery and unhappiness. 

The Need-to-Know about feeling less helpless and more in control is to avoid dwelling on things we can’t control. There’s research showing that reducing exposure to depressing/negative information — pandemic reports, political shenanigans, crime reports — can help us feel better.

Doom-scrolling’ through negative stories and commentary cultivates what psychologists call “mean world syndrome” and affects how we see others and our feelings of security and optimism about the future. It’s not about ignoring what’s happening in the world but limiting exposure to the bad stuff and actively seeking out the positive. 

Here’s a bit of wisdom that helps me apply the brakes:

‘Your mind is like tofu; it tastes like whatever you marinate it in.’

— Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist and professor at Harvard Medical School, citing his meditation teacher.

Here’s a few tips and ideas I’ve collected from various sources to help get through the next couple of months: 

  • Connect with friends and classmates. Call up a couple this week and try not to talk politics. We need social connectedness to be healthy and happy
  • Look for your life’s bright patches and be grateful to have some. And trust that there will be more to come
  • Go for walks no matter the weather. Find a bit of nature to enjoy, it can make a big difference in how you feel. Go with family and friends or neighbours. Be social but stay 6 feet apart.
  • Learn new stuff. Books, seminars, courses, lectures, hobbies. Anything that helps me stay off-line is what I look for. 

For more go to Need to Know: Science and Insight

Europe’s Game-Changing Climate Action Commitment

The 6% Solution to the Climate Crisis

In this issue of Need to Know  I spent Saturday at the United Nation’s Climate Ambition Summit 2020. It was a virtual event to mark the five-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change. I’m happy to report there was a game-changing announcement.

When the Paris Climate Agreement was signed December 12, 2015, I wrote an article that said, with some sarcasm: ‘The Paris Agreement is a historic plan for at least 3.0 degrees C of warming’.  To be clear, 3.0C would be disastrous for much of humanity, but that is what countries’ Paris commitments to cut CO2 emissions would result in. That’s a long way from their agreement to keep the heating of our atmosphere to “well below 2.0C”. 

When challenged about this huge gap, many countries said they would have plans to improve their CO2 reduction efforts by 2020.  

Well, 2020 is nearly over, and most countries haven’t put in the effort to meet their original Paris reduction pledges, never mind improving their plans. Four countries have submitted plans to improve their reduction targets. Today’s big need-to-know is that one of those ‘countries’ has the potential to be a climate-action game changer: the European Union (EU).

The EU, a 27-member country union, just made a legal commitment to cut its CO2 levels at least 55% below 1990 levels by 2030. Equally significant is the United Kingdom new pledge to cut emissions by 68% by 2030. And then there’s Denmark; Europe’s largest oil and gas producer. They’ve announced a phase out of all oil and gas production by 2050 and legally committed to a 70% reduction below 1990 levels by 2030.

All fossil-fuel producing countries need to phase out their production by 2050 said the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the UN Climate Ambition Summit 2020

“We made a promise in Paris. The children of the world are depending on us to keep that promise,” said Frederiksen.

To read more go to Need to Know: Science and Insight.

Stay In Your Bubble — and Other Corona Safety Tips

How to wait for the vaccine without going crazy

In this issue of Need to Know is about how to stay safe over the next few months based on the latest science and medical advice to avoid encountering the coronavirus.

Two very good friends recently asked to meet for lunch while they were in town. These days to go or not to have lunch with friends is a very difficult decision. My friends are careful people who live in a rural community. The restaurant was large, tables well-spaced and unlikely to be busy. I really wanted to see these friends whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. 

What would you do in this situation? 

With much regret I said no.

To make my lunch date decision I used the Covid Risk Reduction Mantra I presented in the first issues of Need to Know. The mantra describes six main infection risk factors to help assess the overall risk of our various daily activities:

Time And Place, People And Space, Caseload and Consequence

Continued here.

Planetary Emergency vs Business as Usual

Some guiding principles for the world we want

This chart shows where economic stimulus money went in a few select countries. (Green is for low carbon, red is for high carbon fossil fuels; yellow is for social and health care.)

We’re in a state of planetary emergency. And yet hardly anyone seems to know or be bothered by it. This week’s Need to Know takes a brief look at why we aren’t rolling out the solutions we already have to end the emergency and how having guiding principles could help.

Read all about it the latest issue of Need to Know.

Climate Reality and the Politically Impossible

This close to meeting the 1.5C climate target

In the immortal words of Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard: “Things Are Only Impossible Until They’re Not“.

In this issue of Need to Know: Science and Insight I look at how politically realistic” and “political will” maybe finally coming to together to give hope for a 1.5C to 2.0C climate future. And how 2020 proves this can be done.

Read the issue for free today.

Extinction Crisis Solution: Stop Doing Dumb Things

Australian Cassowary, a rare flightless bird

In this issue of Need to Know: Science & Insight I look at some of the underlying causes of extinctions, what can be done, and how you and I can help. And, believe it or not, it starts with a breakfast with a cassowary, a really big en and dangerous endangered species.

Read the issue for free today.

Blowing Holes in Our Life Support System

In this issue of Need to Know: Science & Insight I investigate how and why we are poking holes in our life support safety net that is Nature. If Nature isn’t healthy that means we aren’t either. And I’ll look at what to do about it. But first, let’s meet my friend Lonesome George, the rarest creature on the planet. (Yes, those are pix of George I took).

This is a two-part series, each is a 5 to 10 minute read.

Read the issue for free today.

From Rhino Vision to Water Vision

Learning to value and respect the hidden water that is all around us is the theme of the latest issue of Need to Know: Science & Insight.

Average water footprint of bottle of cola

Water is far more valuable and useful than oil and yet water rarely gets the attention it deserves. Nor does water get our respect, or the reverence that nearly all cultures far older than ours had for it. This issue’s overarching need-to-know is understanding and awareness of our water reality.

To help this happen, let’s shift perspective and go looking for Rhinos.

Read the issue for free today.