The 2008 Reuters-IUCN Environmental Media Awards go to Noémi Mercier with “Our computers are poisoning the planet”

13 November 2008 | News story

The 2008 Reuters-IUCN Media Awards for Excellence in Environmental Reporting go to Noémi Mercier of Canada for her story “Our computers are poisoning the planet” (Nos ordinateurs empoisonnent la planète). At the Global Awards Ceremony held today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 5,000 US$ were awarded to her as the global winner.

“Our computers are poisoning the planet” for Québec Science reveals the toxic story behind e-waste recycling. Exported to India for their supposedly eco-friendly recycling, computers are dismantled under the poorest conditions, poisoning thousands of people and the environment.

Noémi Mercier’s article was selected the best by a Global Master Jury, which considered six articles, representing the Latin America, North America and Oceania, Europe, Asia,
English-speaking Africa and the Middle East, and French-speaking Africa. The other five finalists,
who were present at the ceremony, were also awarded with trophies and certificates.

Presenting the award at the Global Awards Ceremony, Pavan Sukhdev of Deutsche Bank and study leader of TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) said the competition highlights stories analyzing the world’s most pressing environmental problems, while showing solutions for a more sustainable future.

“Through this prize, Reuters and IUCN encourage journalists to report on how climate change, loss of species and ecosystems impacts on human wellbeing and nature as whole. It encourages the media to tackle complex issues and provoke action,” Sukhdev said.

Noémi Mercier is a reporter for Québec Science, the leading French-Canadian science magazine. She also appears regularly on a science TV show on Québec public television, Le Code Chastenay, in which she debunks scientific myths.

Noémi Mercier holds a degree in psychology from McGill University in Montreal. Before joining Québec Science, she worked as a reporter for Radio-Canada (Canadian public radio), as a desk editor for Reuters in Montreal and as an editor for Amazon.ca in Seattle.

This year’s regional winning articles addressed some of the world’s global environmental issues: illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam; real estate speculation in Mexico destroying forests and biodiversity; pollution and overuse of Kenya’s Lake Naivasha for flower production; the discovery of nature as a marketplace; and the transformation of degraded Sahel regions into flourishing landscapes.

The Awards, established in 1998 by Reuters Foundation and IUCN, aim to help raise global awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues, by encouraging high standards in environmental reporting worldwide.