The Guardian’s editor-in-chief will step down after 20 years. At the start of Alan Rusbridger’s editorship the Guardian was another British newspaper, which he then took over, and successfully transformed into a globally-respected voice, and across many media.Indeed theguardian.com became one of the most-read English language news websites in the world.
Rusbridger’s high-profile stories are many, including the phone hacking investigations which shamed the News of the World to closure and resulted in the Leveson inquiry into press standards. Most famously, Rusbridger, with WikiLeaks, published the contents of secret US diplomatic cables enlightening citizens worldwide to the ills of their governments.
Clearly he is an audacious and brilliant individual. And when bowing out of the Guardian he will not do that in half measures either - in his last months as editor he will give prominent place to global warming stories.
Alan Rusbridger has just one regret about his extraordinary editorship: that his publication has not done justice to the "huge, overshadowing, overwhelming issue" of climate change. So he is commissioning a major series of articles on our planet in peril and positively on how humanity can solve the climate crisis. The series got off to a great start with a personal heroine of mine, Naomi Klein, synopsising her recent book ‘This Changes Everything’.
Under Rusbridger the Guardian have also given a lot of attention to an organisation with which I research, the Rainforest Alliance, with a few Follow the Frog articles every week in 2014 and 2015. It’s terrific that this newspaper stands with such a clear voice of its contributors’ beliefs and it’s wonderful that the editor-in-chief is giving the climate catastrophe a prominent platform to reflect its urgency.
Even when the overwhelming majority of scientists wave a big red flag in the air, they tend to be ignored. Is this new warning too similar to the last? Is it all too frightening to contemplate? Is a collective shrug of fatalism the only rational response? The climate threat features very prominently on the home page of the Guardian on Friday even though nothing exceptional happened on this day. It will be there again next week and the week after. You will, I hope, be reading a lot about our climate over the coming weeks.