St. Patrick's Day is more than a month away, but The I Files already is going green. The Center for Investigative Reporting's investigative YouTube channel is showcasing a playlist highlighting National Green Week – an annual initiative to teach children and young adults about the environment, sustainability and ways they can make a tangible difference in their community. From now until Earth Day in late April, schools and colleges across the country will launch projects to experiment with innovative and practical solutions to the most pressing environmental issues of our day.
The I Files Green Week playlist kicks off with profiles of the most recent winners of The Goldman Environmental Prize, which recognizes ordinary individuals from around the world who have successfully protected and enhanced the environment, often at great risk and against enormous odds.
“The New Russia” focuses on Evgenia Chirikova, a suburban working mom who mobilized fellow Russians in a massive campaign to reroute a highway that would have destroyed Moscow’s Khimki Forest. Throughout her efforts, Chirikova has faced rampant political corruption and intimidation, including an effort by authorities to falsely accuse her of child abuse and threaten to take away her two children.
In Argentina, Sofia Gatica’s environmental campaign stemmed from personal tragedy. Her daughter’s death from pesticide poisoning prompted Gatica to organize local women to stop the spraying of toxic chemicals on soy fields across Argentina. Calling themselves “The Mothers of Ituzaingó,” this group of working-class women challenged a multibillion-dollar company and ultimately changed policy at the highest levels of government.
Our Green Week playlist will also transport you to the grasslands of Kenya, where a once-infamous poacher has turned his back on his former life and is now teaching the nation’s wildlife conservation corps how to protect the animals he illegally hunted. “A Poacher’s Redemption” follows Julius Lokinyi, once accused of single-handedly killing as many as 100 elephants, as he joins a rag-tag squad of rangers and volunteers working to protect the tens of thousands of elephants slaughtered in Kenya each year for the underground ivory trade.
Far from the arid plains of Africa, Al Jazeera chronicles the international tug of war emerging over competing claims to the Arctic Circle. As the arctic warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the retreating ice offers access to vast untapped oil and gas reserves and other precious minerals. “The Battle for the Arctic” tracks the would-be explorers looking to cash in on this new gold rush and examines the impact these new excavations might have on local communities.
We’re also rerunning two CIR-produced animated favorites. “The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers” offers a humorous and unconventional look at the surprising ramifications of our hamburger-heavy diets. “The Price of Gas” breaks down the true cost of gasoline, which is arguably much higher than the roughly $4 a gallon Americans pay at the pump and has more far-reaching consequences.
Finally, in the quirky “Story of an Egg,” poultry farmers David Evans and Alexis Koefoed demystify the real meaning of marketing catchphrases such as “cage free” and “pasture raised” so consumers can make informed decisions when they go to their local supermarket.
Get a leg up on your office Oscar poll! The I Files team is assembling a special collection of the feature-length and short documentary films nominated for an Academy Award this year. Our Oscar-themed week will include excerpts from nominated films and previous winners, as well as interviews with some of the award-winning directors. Check The I Files starting Feb. 18 to get your early Oscar fix – no tux or gown required.
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A new U.N. report has found that crimes against humanity are occurring in North Korea and calls for an international tribunal to investigate. Survivors describe what life is like in North Korea’s hidden prison camps. (via Human Rights Watch)