Mongabay reporters recognized with SEAL Awards

Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Image by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.

Two Mongabay journalists have been honored with 2022 SEAL Awards for their reporting.

Brazil-based Contributing Editor Karla Mendes and Senior Staff Writer Basten Gokkon based in Indonesia both were noted in the 2022 cohort of SEAL Award winners. Mongabay Founder and CEO Rhett Butler was honored similarly in 2020.

The SEAL Awards intentionally focused their latest search for winners on independent and emerging publications in an effort to celebrate and encourage journalists to take initiative in filling the information gap, according to their news release.

“Our selection of journalists for this year’s award stand out for their efforts to raise awareness of the interplay between social, governmental and market forces in shaping climate justice,” said Safa Bee, Impact Lead for SEAL Awards. “Underserved communities continue to bear a disproportionate share of the consequences for shortfalls in environmental policy.”

Of particular interest among this year’s winners, the release continued, the “SEAL Awards wishes to highlight Karla Mendes for her powerful work covering the continued encroachment of global corporations into Indigenous Amazon lands.”

In reaction, Karla said, “It’s an honor to be a recipient of the SEAL Awards this year! Spontaneous recognition like this tells me that my coverage is on the right track to fight injustices against Indigenous peoples and traditional communities.”

A multiple award-winning journalist, Karla worked as a land and property rights correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation before joining Mongabay. Prior to that, she was a business reporter for over 10 years in Rio, Madrid, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte, including with newspapers O Globo, O Estado de S. Paulo, Expansión and news agency S&P Global Market Intelligence. View all of her reporting for Mongabay here.

For his part, Basten Gokkon said, “I’m very honored and thankful to be a recipient of this special award. I’d like to extend this recognition to my colleagues at Mongabay, who have supported and inspired me through their work and impacts via environmental journalism. I hope one day I can collaborate with every single one of the 2022 Seal Award’s deserving winners!”

Basten lives in Jakarta and is passionate about wildlife conservation, marine stewardship, renewable energy, and Indigenous peoples’ issues. He is an avid diver and climber, and often facilitates cross-language reporting efforts between Mongabay and its Indonesia bureau. See all of his reporting here.

Also of note among the 12 winners are Sophie Mbugua, who has written numerous times for Mongabay as a freelance contributor, and Richa Syal in a freelance capacity as well, here.

SEAL (Sustainability, Environmental Achievement & Leadership) is an environmental advocacy organization that honors leadership through its awards programs while funding research and environmental impact campaigns. Winners are selected based on a review of each journalist’s work, data-driven analysis of the impact and reach of their articles, and consideration for writers who are bringing fresh perspectives and social relevance to environmental issues.

Mongabay extends its congratulations to Karla, Basten, Sophie, Richa and all of the 2022 SEAL Award winners.

Banner image: Drone photo of Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Image by Rhett A. Butler for Mongabay.