Bracing for Impact : A Look Back and Ahead

By Amanda Mascarelli

Dear Readers,

What an amazing ten months we’ve had!

Last summer, we jumped at the opportunity to tell complex and nuanced stories that many publications were missing—stories about the unanticipated impacts of climate change and the innovative strategies that scientists, cities and others are applying to face those impacts head-on. We knew it would likely be a labor of love, but we hoped there would be readers interested in those tales. Your financial support and readership confirmed our instincts and backed our reporting. We could NOT have done it without you.

Our reach extended beyond Beacon, too. PBS Newshour picked up “Keeping Common From Becoming Rare”; others were promoted by OnEarth magazine.

Part of our motivation for this project was the unique intimacy the Beacon platform created between readers and writers. Your comments, emails and survey responses let us know what you wanted to read—and we turned these into stories for Bracing for Impact.

For example, “Confessions of a Conflicted Environmentalist” evolved after several of you let us know how frustrating it is to find individual actions that can help the environment. We agree! As well, the strong interest in renewable energy helped drive last month’s “Reindeer v. Renewables” piece.

We’re quite proud that our stories, on more than one occasion, appeared before similar articles in big name publications. Days after our “Pope Francis: Climate Evangelist” story came out, we counted half a dozen other stories about the verdant vicar in high-profile newspapers like The New York Times and The Guardian. We published “Outmaneuvering Mosquitoes” a week before The Atlantic, NPR and Time similarly covered the team releasing genetically-modified mosquitoes in Florida in a bid to stop the spread of diseases like dengue fever and chikungunya.

Others might never have been told. For example, “A Root of Change” weaved a rich tale of a species decline that will likely devastate a cultural tradition.

A few things are clear: Without significant legislative action to control greenhouse gas emissions, we are locked into accelerating climate change, and therefore an increasing urgency for these powerful stories to be told. Others recognize this as well. A recent editorial in The Guardian has started a major series behind the climate crisis.

We’ll continue writing these stories individually—and possibly as a collective. Now that our six-month “experiment” is over, we’re exploring several exciting opportunities to build on what we’ve already created. We’ll keep you posted as those develop.

Until then, please accept our sincere gratitude for enabling us to explore the potential of the new media landscape as a place to bear witness to a changing climate.


The Flux team

Virginia Gewin, Hannah Hoag, Amanda Mascarelli, Susan Moran & Sarah Webb