National Geographic
Menu

Stephen Leahy

stephenleahy.net/

I have been an independent environmental journalist for 17 years, my writing has been published in dozens of publications around the world including New Scientist, The London Sunday Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Maclean’s Magazine, Earth Island Journal, The Toronto Star, Wired News, Audubon, BBC Wildlife, and National Geographic News Watch.

Based outside of Toronto (Uxbridge), I am the international science and environment correspondent for the Rome-headquartered Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS), the world’s 6th largest global news agency.

Leap of Faith Needed on Green Economy

RIO DE JANEIRO Delegates in Rio will need to take a leap of faith and agree on concepts like the green economy and sustainable development goals without really knowing what they involve, suggest experts on the sidelines of the Rio+20 Earth Summit. “The green economy is a black box right now. We don’t know what…

Indigenous Message to Rio+20: Leave Everything Beneath Mother Earth

  An indigenous caravan is bringing to the Rio+20 conference the philosophy of “buen vivir” – “living well” in harmony with nature – as a solution to the world’s environmental and economic crises. Indigenous leaders from all over South America are making their way by foot, canoe and eventually on buses to be part of…

Eliminate GDP and “Economic Growth” to Create the Real Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples Say

The planet is in peril, 3,000 scientists and other experts concluded at the recent Planet Under Pressure conference in London. Climate change, overuse of nitrogen and loss of biodiversity are just three of the perils threatening to make much of our home uninhabitable. World leaders will meet in Rio de Janeiro June 20-22 to address…

Traditional Slash and Burn Agriculture Sustainable Solution to Climate Change

Climate change is the result of not behaving in the right way, according to the isolated Trio, an indigenous people living in Suriname’s Amazon forest near its border with Brazil. “They see climate change as big problem. They say their forests are changing, deteriorating,” said Gwendolyn Smith, a project director for the non-profit organization Amazon Conservation…

Indigenous Peoples Can Show the Path to Low-Carbon Living If Their Land Rights Are Recognized

  Many indigenous peoples are living examples of societies thriving with sustainable, low-carbon lifestyles. Successfully meeting the global climate change challenge requires that much of the world shift from high carbon-living to low. This shift is daunting. Current emissions for Australia and the United States average about 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person. In…

Wisdom of Elders Better Than Science or the Internet: “They Still Know How to Cook Mammoth”

“Our elders are the best source of information. Better than science or the internet,” said Petr Kaurgin, a Chukchi reindeer herder from the remote Turvaurgin nomadic tribal community in north-eastern Siberia. Kaurgin delivered his message to climate scientists from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other Indigenous peoples at the closing of the Climate…

REDD: The New Beast in the Forest Brings Hope and Threats to Indigenous Peoples

“REDD is the new beast in the forest,” said Patrick Anderson of the Forest Peoples Programme in Indonesia here at Climate Change Mitigation with Local Communities and Indigenous peoples workshop in Cairns, Australia. Deforestation gobbles up an area the size of Greece (13 million hectares) every year. As if that loss wasn’t bad enough, it…

‘Abriculture’ Using Forests to Feed Indigenous Peoples and Fight Climate Change

Forests can not only suck climate-heating carbon out of the atmosphere, they are also an important source of food for many Indigenous peoples. “Western food is making our people sick. Our bodies are adapted to eating bush foods,” said Seith Fourmile of the Gimuy-Walubarra Yidinji Nation of Cairns. Australia’s Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples…

Indigenous Peoples Needed to Meet the Challenge of Climate Change

  “Planning is not part of our culture. You just get up in the morning and do what you need to do for the day,” said Marilyn Wallace of the Kuku Nyungka ‘mob’ (aboriginal nation) in northern Queensland, Australia. “Bama,” people caring for their local territory, is an important part of aboriginal culture and identity,…

Climate Scientists to Attend Native Knowledge ‘Boot Camp’ in Australia

  In what may be a ‘clash of worldviews,’ representatives from indigenous and local communities are holding a climate workshop with physicists, computer modellers, and other climate scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Cairns, Australia 26-28 March. This is a unique opportunity for Native peoples to discuss their traditional knowledge and experiences as…