Science is global, so our coverage should be too

The United States has been a world leader in science for decades, both in investment and in volume of research published. But now many countries beyond North America and Europe, including China, India, Japan and South Korea, have become research powerhouses in their own right.

So covering just U.S.-based research would do the readers of Science News a disservice, since it fails to reflect the reality of science as a human endeavor common to all cultures. Thus, we’re always on the lookout for journalists in other countries who can report on science beyond our borders.

In this issue, science journalist Geoffrey Kamadi reports from Kenya on community efforts to restore mangrove forests, which can bring in revenue from ecotourism and carbon offsets. Local residents conduct surveys of the forest and work with organizations in Kenya and elsewhere to analyze data and sell carbon credits to companies worldwide looking to offset their climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions. The revenue supports jobs and projects including buying new schoolbooks and improving the community’s water supply.

To report the article, Kamadi took a seven-hour train trip from his home in Nairobi to the coastal city of Mombasa, and then a 45-minute taxi ride to the village of Gazi. He spent two days talking with residents and researchers and taking photographs. “There’s a tangible effect to what they’re doing,” Kamadi told me by phone. “They can actually see the results of their effort.”

Science journalist Geoffrey Kamadi
In this issue, Geoffrey Kamadi reports on mangrove restoration in Kenya.Courtesy of G. Kamadi

Kamadi has always been fascinated by science, he says, so he decided to make it his focus as a journalist. He’s written for publications in Africa and beyond. In 2020, his article on how the destruction of a water catchment area for a major river in Kenya is disrupting lives downstream won a AAAS Kavli Gold Science Journalism Award. “Science is about unearthing the truth,” he says. “It’s about explaining things and providing solutions to things we humans face.”

Some of our other recent international coverage of note includes Sibi Arasu’s cover story in May on how farmers in India are adopting technologies to reduce their carbon footprint and generate income (SN: 5/7/22 & 5/21/22, p. 36); Yao-Hua Law’s nocturnal expedition to report on Malaysia’s elusive “flying lemurs” (SN: 11/21/20, p. 22); and Meghie Rodrigues’ reporting from Brazil on a city’s efforts to get all of its adult residents vaccinated against COVID-19 (SN Online: 6/2/21).

Global reporting isn’t cheap, and it wouldn’t happen without your subscriptions and donations. Thank you for helping us bring the world to you.

Nancy Shute is editor in chief of Science News Media Group. Previously, she was an editor at NPR and US News & World Report, and a contributor to National Geographic and Scientific American. She is a past president of the National Association of Science Writers.