2010 Grantham Prize Honors Excellence in Environmental Journalism

NARRAGANSETT, R.I., June 2010 – Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting has announced that Canadian author Alanna Mitchell is the winner of the 2010 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment. Mitchell, author of the extraordinary book “Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis” published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart and by The University of Chicago Press in the U.S., is the first book author to receive The Grantham Prize and the first Canadian entrant to win the $75,000 prize.

“We are proud to award Alanna Mitchell the 2010 Grantham Prize,” said Sunshine Menezes, executive director of Metcalf Institute and Grantham Prize administrator. “An engaging work, ‘Sea Sick’ clearly and eloquently explains the specific dangers facing global marine ecosystems. Mitchell faced her own demons to craft a story that showcases marine science – and scientists – in a balanced, accurate, and poetic fashion.”

The Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment honors outstanding coverage of the environment, and recognizes reporting that has the potential to bring about constructive change. The prize was established to encourage high quality environmental journalism in all media, while drawing attention to the subject of the prize-winning stories, increasing public awareness and understanding of environmental issues. The $75,000 Grantham Prize is awarded annually to nonfiction work produced in the United States or Canada during the previous calendar year in all media.

Philip Meyer, chairman of the Grantham Prize Jury said, “Reading Alanna Mitchell convinces you that the ocean is at least as important as the atmosphere when we worry about climate change. You cannot put this book down without understanding that, for life on earth to continue as it is, the ocean from which we evolved must remain healthy.”

Alanna Mitchell is a Canadian journalist and author known for her ability to describe complex ideas in plain language. She was the science and environment reporter at the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, for fourteen years until she left daily journalism to devote herself to writing on science. In 2000, she was named the best environmental reporter in the world by the Reuters Foundation and was invited in 2002 to undertake a guest fellowship at Oxford University. This led to her first book, “Dancing at the Dead Sea,” published in 2004. Mitchell, a native of Toronto, is an associate at the International Institute for Sustainable Development and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on environmental issues.

Published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart, “Sea Sick” was released in the United States by University of Chicago Press (October 2009). “Sea Sick” examines the current state of the world’s oceans – describing an urgent yet little understood ecological crisis. Mitchell penned the 2010 Grantham Prize winner “Sea Sick” while joining the research teams of leading scientists in nine of the global oceans’ hotspots to see firsthand what is really happening in the world’s oceans. Whether it’s the impact of coral reef bleaching, the puzzle of the growing number of oxygen-less dead zones, or the shocking implications of the increasing acidification of the sea, Mitchell explains the science behind the story in this engaging, accessible, yet authoritative account.

The Grantham Prize Jurors also selected three entries to receive Awards of Special Merit, each receiving a $5,000 cash prize. The three 2010 Award of Special Merit recipients are: Dan Egan of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for his ongoing environmental reporting on the Great Lakes; Cleo Paskal, author of “Global Warring,” published by Key Stone Books (Canada) and Palgrave Macmillan (U.S.A.); and the team led by Hedrick Smith, for the PBS Frontline documentary “Poisoned Waters.”

Established in 2005, The Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment is funded by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham through The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and is administered by the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting. The Grantham Foundation supports environmental research and conservation programs internationally, while Metcalf Institute provides journalists with resources, tools, and field education to accurately report on scientific news and environmental issues.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of The Grantham Prize. Past winners of the prestigious Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment are: The Record (Bergen County, NJ) in 2006 for “Toxic Legacy”; the Los Angeles Times in 2007 for “Altered Oceans”; The New York Times in 2008 for “Choking on Growth”; and USA TODAY in 2009 for “The Smokestack Effect: Toxic Air and America’s Schools.”

Source: Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting