2017 was a phenomenal year for Climate Tracker’s COP campaign!

We received close to 1000 amazing articles from countries around the world and had the difficult job of selecting the final team. Now, we are pleased to introduce you to the seven Fellows heading to COP23 with us. They wrote exceptional and inspiring pieces on the clean energy revolution, climate finance, and climate change and health. They amplified climate issues in their national and international media.

This is one of the most geographically diverse teams we have ever formed to take to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Congress of Parties (COP). It is a first for Iraq, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, and Togo. We are really excited! Can you tell? 🙂

Let’s get right into it:

Alanah Torralba, The Phillipines

Alanah is an independent journalist and photographer based in Manila, Philippines. In 2016, she made the decision to start focusing her writing on under-reported stories such as the disability sector, road safety, and climate change.  At COP, Alanah will be most interested in writing about climate change as a human rights issue and a gender issue. Alanah recognises that her country has made significant advancements in terms of disaster response and risk reduction. However, she notes that climate justice is yet to be delivered to those who are regularly affected by climate change.

“Coming from a developing country that experiences extreme weather events regularly, I believe pushing for climate adaptation is imperative to protect the most vulnerable people such indigenous people, the rural poor and those working in the agricultural sector.” – Alanah

This is Alanah’s first time covering an international event and she is excited to gain a better understanding of the role of politics in how the world deals with the effects of climate change.

Sample of Alanah’s work: Can Metro Manila be a solar-powered megacity?

Alo Lemou, Togo

Alo graduated with a degree in Business Management but is also a student of Philosophy, Human Rights, Journalism, and Politics. For the past two years, he has been writing for iciLome.com, a critical digital publisher in Togo. Through his writings, Alo seeks to draw attention of politicians to the environment and climate change issues. He especially writes about coastal erosion, deforestation, mining industries, and pollution.

“At the COP, I shall work on Climate change finance in my country and those of West Africa, which affects my country’s climate change adaptation capacity and renewable energy projects.” – Alo

Alo is fascinated by data and would like to deepen his knowledge on data journalism. He is excited to advocate for climate action at COP 23 and promote the 1.5-degree goal

Sample of Alo’s work: The Constraints of Energy Dependency

Aruna Chandrasekar, India

Aruna Chandrasekhar is a freelance researcher and photojournalist based in New Delhi, India,  with a focus on indigenous and corporate accountability issues. She has been reporting on land and environment for the past six years, with a focus on indigenous communities, extractive industries, and conflict.

“I’ve been part obsessed with the coal mining industry and its impacts, which lead to my friend doodling this over my face after another sleepless night looking at EIA reports.” – Aruna

Aruna is passionate about understanding the international implications of corporate lobbying on energy policy, the politics of negotiations, the latest scientific findings, legal instruments and commitments that states cannot walk away from.

Sample of Aruna’s work: India is moving away from coal, but what is it doing about communities displaced in mining areas?

Farshad Usyan, Afghanistan

Farshad is a photojournalist for AFP news agency, a volunteer photographer for Everyday Afghanistan, and a fellow for Climate Tracker and the Ground Truth Project. Aside from his passion for photography, he recently graduated as a medical doctor. Since 2013, Farsha has been taking photos professionally,  from the daily life of locals to the frontlines of war.

Farshad is excited to share stories of his country, the challenges his people face, and how they overcome them.

“Being involved as a fellow of different global journalism networks, I have gained in-depth knowledge on human rights and climate change challenges. I believe media, especially photography, is a very powerful tool to initiate positive movements within a society. Through photojournalism, I want to express this knowledge and my experiences as a doctor, so people from around the world not only realize what is happening but also act upon.” – Farshad

Sample of Farshad’s work: Climate change in Afghanistan; alarm for the health of mothers and children

Leena ElDeeb, Egypt

Leena is an urban journalist (a dream she had since 16 years of age),  who covers politics on the side and dreams to become a war zone reporter. She was born in Cairo, Egypt, and with a passion for political science and anthropology, Leena began working for an urban news website called Progrss. Her fulltime job involved reporting on innovative climate change solutions.

“I enjoy reading, swimming (in the Mediterranean <3), walking, traveling and going to the cinema or theatre. I have a cat called Uzuri (beauty in Swahili) and she gives me a reason to look forward to living. I’m currently reading a novel about one of the comrades in the French resistance who is actually of Middle Eastern origins. It’s called “Ports of Call” by Amin Maalouf, who is one of my favorite historical fiction authors along with the late Radwa Ashour, may her soul rest in peace.” – Leena

Sample of Leena’s work: United States quitting Paris Agreement

Rabiya Shabeeh, Pakistan

Rabiya was born in Pakistan, raised in Saudi Arabia, and now based in the United Arab Emirates (for the most part). She recently completed her BSc. in Journalism and is currently working as a freelance print, audio, and video reporter for a variety of local publications in the UAE.

At COP, she will write stories about the effects of climate change on Pakistan’s economy, UAE’s measures in becoming more sustainable, and solar energy in the post-fuel Middle East.

“I ran into the owner of the first sustainable fashion companies in Dubai. I learned about sustainability and climate change and the role of individuals in combating it. That is pretty much what got me into truly committing to my personal responsibility towards the environment.” – Rabiya

Sample of Rabiya’s work: UAE Leading the Way on Shifting to Greener Energy

Sebastián Rodríguez, Costa Rica

Sebastián is a  student of Collective Communication Sciences at the University of Costa Rica and journalist at Semanario Universidad since 2016. He writes about science, sustainability and climate change. He is interested in tracking the advancements in transparency and adaptation of Central American countries.

In addition, he sees that scientific advice is key to understanding the threat of a changing climate so explaining the science behind climate change will be a main focus.

“Climate change touches the very roots of our globalization: an economic system that generates inequality. With this being the case, it will be the poorest of the poorest who’ll really suffer the most with a changing climate. In Central America, the problems will be many (biodiversity loss, a slow agriculture, migration, and malnutrition, to name a few) and they will be specially present among the most vulnerable. That’s why making these issues visible is so important: it’s our social responsibility.” –  Sebastián

Sample of Sebastián’s work: Political Expert at the University of Potsdam: “(Clean Economy) is a gigantic machinery of new investments”

Zaidon Falah, Iraq

Although Zaidon graduated from the Faculty of Computer Science in Iraq, he is passionate about journalism. Zaidon worked as a reporter for the Kurdistan Media Gift Network (KGN). He has a heart for humanitarian work and is involved in many voluntary activities, assisting to support persons displaced by war.

Zaidon has worked with the Environment Department in Anbar where he conducted seminars and lectures to highlight the impacts of the climate changes and pollution.

At COP 23, Zaidon will track the Arab presence and cover their strategies and plans to deal with climate change and implementing the items of the Paris Agreement.

“Overall, environmental culture and public awareness of climate change is very low in Iraq. I will work to inform people of the dangers of climate change and its negative effects on Iraq and the Arab region.” – Zaidon

Sample of Zaidon’s work: The Iraqi National Green Belt … The dream that was born dead

We are ready to bring climate change news to you all around the world with this amazing team! Remember, follow our live coverage and follow us on social media for the latest COP 23 updates! 

Dizzanne Billy

About Dizzanne Billy

Dizzanne Billy is the Caribbean Outreach Manager at Climate Tracker. She is a Content Creator, Creative Director, and Digital Marketing professional. Dizzanne graduated from the University of the West Indies with an MSc. in Global Studies, focusing her research on global environmental governance. She is passionate about writing, environmental advocacy, and learning about different cultures.