2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Brandon Loomis, Rick Egan & David Noyce Winner: Brandon Loomis, Rick Egan & David Noyce “Our Dying Forests” The Salt Lake Tribune James Astill Winner: James Astill “Seeing the Wood” The Economist Alanna Mitchell Winner: Alanna Mitchell “Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis” McClelland & Stewart (Canada) and The University of Chicago Press (U.S.A.) Blake Morrison and Brad Heath Winner: Blake Morrison & Brad Heath “The Smokestack Effect: Toxic Air and America’s Schools” USA Today David Barboza, Keith Bradsher, Howard French, Joseph Kahn, Mark Landler, Chang W. Lee, Jimmy Wang, and Jim Yardley Winner: David Barboza, Keith Bradsher, Howard French, Joseph Kahn, Mark Landler, Chang W. Lee, Jimmy Wang, and Jim Yardley “Choking on Growth” The New York Times Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling Winner: Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling “Altered Oceans” The Los Angeles Times Jan Barry, Thomas E. Franklin, Mary Jo Layton, Tim Nostrand, Alex Nussbaum, Tom Troncone, Debra Lynn Vial, Lindy Washburn, Barbara Williams Winner: Jan Barry, Thomas E. Franklin, Mary Jo Layton, Tim Nostrand, Alex Nussbaum, Tom Troncone, Debra Lynn Vial, Lindy Washburn, Barbara Williams “Toxic Legacy” The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
Paul Greenberg Awards of Special Merit: Paul Greenberg “Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food” Penguin Press Jeff Goodell Awards of Special Merit: Jeff Goodell “How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Dan Egan Awards of Special Merit: Dan Egan Environmental Beat Reporting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Tad Fettig, Karena Albers, & Veronique Bernard Awards of Special Merit: Tad Fettig, Karena Albers, & Veronique Bernard “e2: transport” kontentreal Dinah Voyles Pulver Awards of Special Merit: Dinah Voyles Pulver “Our Natural Treasures – Are We Losing Our Way?” Daytona Beach News Journal Eugene Linden Awards of Special Merit: Eugene Linden “The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather, and the Destruction of Civilizations” Simon & Schuster Douglas Fischer Awards of Special Merit: Douglas Fischer “A Body’s Burden: Our Chemical Legacy” Oakland Tribune
UNC News 21 Team Awards of Special Merit: Caitlyn Greene, Catherine Orr, Catherine Spangler, Delphine Andrews, Hadley Gustafson, Hely Olivares, Jeffrey Mittelstadt, Kristen Long, Mimi Schiffman, Sarah Riazati, Whitney Baker, and Laura Ruel Coal: A Love Story News21 Fellows, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Journalism and Mass Communication Associated Press Awards of Special Merit: Richard T. Pienciak, Ron Harris, Justin Pritchard, Jeff Donn, Mitch Weiss, Michael Kunzelman, Seth Borenstein, Rich Matthews, Jason Bronis, Tamara Lush, Mike Baker, Holbrook Mohr, Dave Clark, Fielding Cage, Merrill Sherman, Peter Prengaman, and Cain Burdeau Oil Spill Reporting Associated Press Cleo Paskal Awards of Special Merit: Cleo Paskal “Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic, and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map” Key Porter Books (Canada) and Palgrave Macmillan (U.S.A.) Andrew Nikiforuk Awards of Special Merit: Andrew Nikiforuk “Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent” Greystone Books Alison Richards and David Malakoff Awards of Special Merit: Alison Richards and David Malakoff “Climate Connections: How people change climate, how climate changes people” National Public Radio East Oregonian Publishing Company Awards of Special Merit: Patrick Webb, The Daily Astorian; Phil Wright, Hal McCune and Samantha Bates, The East Oregonian; Kate Ramsayer, Cassandra Profita and Kara Hansen, The Daily Astorian; Elaine Shein, Tam Moore, Cookson Beecher, Bob Krauter, Mitch Lies, Patricia McCoy and Scott Yates, The Capital Press; Elizabeth Long and Cate Gable, The Chinook Observer, Scott Mallory, The Blue Mountain Eagle; Dave Hassler and Andrew Wilkins, The Wallowa Chieftain “Our Climate is Changing… Ready or Not” East Oregonian Publishing Company Elizabeth Kolbert Awards of Special Merit: Elizabeth Kolbert “The Climate of Man” The New Yorker
Gary Marcuse, Betsy Carson, & Shi Lihong Awards of Special Merit: Gary Marcuse, Betsy Carson, & Shi Lihong Waking the Green Tiger: A Green Movement Rises in China Face to Face Media Hedrick Smith, Rick Young, Marc Shaffer, Peter Pearce,
    Penny Trams, Catherine Rentz, Fritz Kramer Awards of Special Merit: Hedrick Smith, Rick Young, Marc Shaffer, Peter Pearce, Penny Trams, Catherine Rentz, Fritz Kramer “Poisoned Waters” Hedrick Smith Productions for PBS Frontline Susanne Rust & Meg Kissinger Awards of Special Merit: Susanne Rust & Meg Kissinger “Chemical Fallout” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Ed Struzik Awards of Special Merit: Ed Struzik “The Big Thaw – Arctic in Peril” The Edmonton Journal and the Toronto Star Dimming the Sun Awards of Special Merit: A DOX production for NOVA/WGBH and the BBC “Dimming the Sun: What Does This Climate Conundrum Mean for the Future of Earth?” NOVA/WGBH and the BBC WBAL Channel 11 Awards of Special Merit: John Sherman and Beau Kershaw “Dirty Secret” WBAL-TV, Baltimore, MD

2012 Awards of Special Merit

Award Winners: Paul Greenberg | UNC News21 Fellows | Face to Face Media


Paul Greenberg

Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

Penguin Press

FourFish_CVIn this entertaining and enlightening book, award winning writer and lifelong angler Paul Greenberg examines our delicate relationship with our last truly wild food source. As large-scale commercial fishing, extensive fish farming, and questionable environmental standards have severely distressed water ecosystems, many wild fish populations are on the brink of extinctions.

Four Fish explores our relationship with the oceans, honing in on the four varieties of fish that humankind has chosen as our staples- salmon, bass, cod, and tuna. As fish consumption worldwide continues to increase, these varieties are consistently available at markets the world over, even when they aren’t indigenous to nearby waters. Greenberg travels from wild salmon runs in Alaska to the massive fish farms in Vietnam and from the Long Island Sound to the fjords of Norway to explore the history of these four species and how their futures look at this moment in time. Along the way, he uncovers the myths, misconceptions, and cultural precedents that persist about fish among consumers and members of the fishing industry. Often, Greenberg explains, these well-known types are not the healthiest, most cost-effective or most environmentally sound choices, and he leads us to better alternatives.

Can we change fishing practices and fish farming in time to prevent mass extinction of wild fish populations? Currently there is no formal “ocean policy” to guide international practices but Greenberg is hopeful. As we are starting to do with livestock and poultry, we can learn to boost the population growth of fish is a sustainable way. Certainly both wild and farmed fish will continue to be a part of our diet, but perhaps in the near future there will be different varieties of fish on our plates and all species will be more abundant. Greenberg’s Four Fish is a deeply researched yet utterly charming love letter to the fish he has hunted, studied and eaten throughout his life.

“The great thing about The Grantham Prize is that it brings your work to the attention of both the general public and the academic community—two worlds that are often hard to bridge,” said Greenberg.  “The award brings the science writer into closer connection with a broader range of scientists which in turn fuels more ideas for more, and hopefully better, coverage of the environment.”

Grantham Prize Jury Comments on Four Fish

In this remarkable, eminently readable book, author Paul Greenberg not only celebrates four species of ocean denizens, he hails them for the very aspect that has placed them in peril: their desirability as human food. Greenberg travels the globe both to chronicle the sorry state of salmon, cod, sea bass and tuna, and to investigate the potential of keeping them on humanity’s dinner table.  The result is at once an alarm and a measure of hope, rooted in exquisite reporting and common sense.

Of particular note is Greenberg’s clear-eyed approach to fish-farming. Even while bringing us face-to-face with its ugly current realities — pollution, disease, inefficiency — he points the way to new techniques that hold great promise of maintaining the food supply while restoring wild runs. Throughout the book, Greenberg weaves a thread of reflection on man’s relationship to our sea-dwelling fellow species, asking us to “reevaluate whether fish are at their root expendable seafood or wildlife desperately in need of our compassion.”

Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg

About Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg’s writing on seafood and the oceans has appeared regularly in the New York Times Magazine, Book Review, and Opinion Page. A National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow as well as W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellow, he lives and works in New York City and Lake Placid, New York.

Watch Video

Caitlyn Greene, Catherine Orr, Catherine Spangler, Delphine Andrews, Hadley Gustafson, Hely Olivares, Jeffrey Mittelstadt, Kristen Long, Mimi Schiffman, Sarah Riazati, Whitney Baker, and Laura Ruel

Coal: A Love Story

News21 Fellows, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,

School of Journalism and Mass Communication

“Coal: A Love Story” explores our modern culture’s complicated relationship with coal. Almost half of the nation’s electricity is generated from the burning of coal. Despite the fact that we rely on coal for nearly everything we do, few of us are aware of how it is generated. Whether we like it or not, we are in a complicated relationship with coal for the foreseeable future. We can’t live without the power that coal provides, but we are uneasy with its byproducts: reduced air quality, health risks, and environmental damage.

The team of eleven graduate students behind this extraordinary website described the project as intended “to start a conversation about our multi-faceted relationship with coal through personalized video stories, written pieces and graphics.” With the addition of this innovative approach toward journalism, these graduate students (some of whom have graduated since completing the site) have not only started a conversation. They have brought the conversation to a new level and to new audiences.

“It makes me so proud to see the students’ hard work honored with such a prestigious award,” said Laura Ruel, UNC Journalism professor and executive producer of the project.  “The jurors’ recognition of the students’ innovative methods of storytelling, as well as their adherence to sound journalism, is one of the highest compliments and honors they could receive.  We are truly thrilled and humbled.”

View Coal: A Love Story

Read the “energy viewpoints” collected by the UNC team.

Grantham Prize Jury Comments on Coal: A Love Story

Coal: A Love Story is an interactive multimedia website produced in one semester by eleven students and Laura Ruel, their faculty advisor, from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication as part of the News21 initiative sponsored by the Carnegie and Knight foundations.

Through vignettes from a coal mine in West Virginia, a polluted landscape in Chicago, and ranchland in Wyoming, the videos draw viewers to consider the human costs (and benefits) of America’s reliance on coal for electricity generation. Interspersed among the video segments are graphics and games that allow users to calculate their own annual use of coal or make choices as a town manager about energy and water use. The stories and data personalize the dilemmas involved in daily energy use and broaden consideration of the policy choices involved in electricity production. The site includes a Viewpoints section that contains multiple perspectives on energy use and development.

The ability of Coal: A Love Story to use multimedia presentations to reach and teach is unparalleled on the web, and offers a glimpse into how news outlets can use narratives and data analysis to bring readers into a conversation about a complex policy issue — the role of coal in electricity generation in the US.

UNC News21 Team

UNC News21 Team

About the team

Caitlyn Greene:

For Powering a Nation, Caitlyn’s roles include video editor, videographer, photographer, writer and copy editor. Caitlyn is a recent graduate of UNC- Chapel Hill, where she studied visual communication. Spanish, and business administration. She is especially excited about the intersection of art, journalism, cinema and technology in storytelling. During her time as UNC, Caitlyn worked on award-winning team projects in Mexico, India, Bangladesh and Argentina as a photographer, videographer and video editor. She is currently in postproduction on her honors thesis project called IMMORTAL, a non-traditional documentary about our obsession with not dying. Her work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, College Photographer of the Year and North Carolina Press Photographer’s Association.

Catherine Orr:

For Powering a Nation, Catherine’s roles include editor-in-chief, videographer, video editing, photographer, writer, researcher and copy editor. Catherine is a multimedia journalist specializing in documentary storytelling. She received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and recently completed her master’s degree at the University of North Carolina, she was a Roy H. Park Fellow. Catherine was a contributing multimedia producer for the award winning project, “Now What, Argentina?” and a multimedia producer and project manager for the acclaimed “CPJW- Little Switzerland Stories.” She recently released her project “Dreams Delayed,” a multimedia documentary project about people whose daily lives are affected by college access for the undocumented students.

Catherine Spangler:

For Powering the Nation, Catherine’s roles include videographer, video editing, photographer, writer and copy editor. Catherine is a Roy H. Park Fellow and master’s candidate in multimedia storytelling at UNC- Chapel Hill. Before returning to grad school, Catherine studied radio documentary at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She spent the past five years working as a radio producer in Seattle, freelancing for national NPS affiliates and podcasts. Her most recent documentary, “Enough to Survive,” profiled trash pickers in Mexico.

Delphine Andrews:

For Powering a Nation, Delphine’s roles include managing editor, marketing director and graphic designer. Delphine is a marketer who specialized in social and guerilla marketing. She recently received her masters in strategic communications from the University of North Carolina school of Journalism and Mass Communication where she was a Roy H. Park Fellow. Her thesis project was entitled “Guerillas in the urban jungle: marketing plans for the Broadway musicals, In the Heights and Shrek the Musical.” Prior to returning to school, Delphine worked for the research and evaluation department at Ipas. She also served as the national director of communications for the Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. She received her bachelor’s degree in visual communications from the UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Hadley Gustafson:

For Powering a Nation, Hadley’s roles include graphic designer and videographer. Hadley is a multimedia artist and documentary photographer completing her master’s thesis in visual journalism at UNC, where she has been a Roy H. Park Fellow. A graduate of Wesleyan and Columbia Universities, her experience included architecture, art education, graphic design and rock-and-roll writing/ management/promotion. She produced “Last Man Standing,” a short documentary about heroin addiction and HIV prevention, “Birth: A New Paradigm,” which explores different types of birth environments, care providers, and experiences, and in interactive motion graphic explaining 40 years of Argentine economic history. She is a coordinator, grant writer and photographer for “Las Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity,” a feature-length documentary about Argentina’s Dirty War. She also enjoys yoga and scuba diving.

Hely Olivares:

For Powering a Nation, Hely’s roles includes writer, copy editor and researcher, Hely is a master’s student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he was awarded the merit-based Dean Carnesale Fellowship. She is studying the intersections between business and government as well as media and politics He working in Washington D.C., for the Organization of American States, where he has a range of responsibilities involving political risk analysis. Before that, he worked as a political analyst for the D.C. Embassy of Venezuela and held a number of other positions in Texas and in Virginia working on political elections fund in international business. Hely is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Jeffery Mittelstadt:

For Powering a Nation, Jeff’s roles include copy editor, writer, researcher, videographer, and photographer. Jeff worked for the U.S EPA’s Office of Inspector General in Research Triangle Park evaluating air quality programs. He was a vice president and senior analyst at Bank of America working on green building, sustainable purchasing, renewable energy issues and more. He then designed, implemented and managed a national sustainable manufacturing initiative for a D.C. nonprofit, NACFAM. The U.S Department of Commerce appointed him to the OECD’s Advisory Expert Group on Sustainable Manufacturing and Eco-Invention. He is now working towards a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication. Jeff holds the following degrees: A.B. 1999, Psychology, Davidson College. M.E.M. 2003, Resources Economics and Policy, Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Science, Duke University. M.B.A. 2007, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Enterprise, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kristen Long:

For Powering a Nation, Kristen’s roles include graphic design, programmer and copy editor. Kristen is an interactive designer and recently earned a degree in visual journalism at UNC, where she was the director of interactive design at the Reese Felts Digital Newsroom, an experimental news project. She has created websites and worked with clients both as a multimedia designer at Swarm Interactive and in freelance work. Kristen created infographics for the award-winning Living Galapagos project. She has held leadership roles in UNC’s Online News Association and Society for News Design. She is a former graphics editor at The Daily Tarheel and a former graphic design assistant at the Department of Marketing and Design as UNC’s Student Union. After News21 Kristen will work as a graphic designer at Politico. Her portfolio is available at http://kristenelong.com

Mimi Schiffman:

For Powering the Nation, Mimi’s roles include videographer, video editing, photographer, writer and copy editor. Mimi is currently a Roy H. Park Fellow master’s candidate at UNC- Chapel Hill. She hold’s a B.A with honors in Community Studies from U.C Santa Cruz where her senior thesis was a photo-documentary on the effects of gold mining in the state of Nevada. After graduation, she worked at Rainbow Grocery, an employee- owned cooperative in San Francisco, and helped to strengthen workplace democracy through her participation in the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives. In 2008, she studied photography at the Salt Institute in Maine. She has been a special contributor to several publications.

Sarah Riazati:

For Powering a Nation, Sarah’s roles include graphic designer and videographer. Sarah graduated with a B.A in graphic design and editing in May 2011. As an undergraduate, she explored in photojournalism, international affairs, information science, Arabic, advertising and art, to name a few topics. She traveled with documentary teams to international locations including Haiti, India and Bangladesh, interned in the UNC chancellor’s office on a campus-wide campaign for innovation, and led the design of a campus travel magazine. In her senior year, she worked a multimedia journalist for reesenews. org, the journalism school’s experimental online newsroom. She also produced a documentary about the local music scene. which she submitted for undergraduate honors. When she has time to have fun, she likes to ride her bike, sit outside at coffee shops and play with friends.

Whitney Baker:

For Powering a Nation, Whitney’s roles include programmer, graphic designer, writer and copy editor. Whitey is a writer, programmer and all around multimedia storyteller with a passion for local community-driven stories. She received a bachelor’s in multimedia journalism and Spanish from the University of North Carolina as Chapel Hill, where she was able to experience the glorious life of a theater technician, travel through South America and learn to make balloon animals. She has worked as a writer and web monkey for both the on-campus newspaper, The Daily Tarheel, and for Paste Magazine. As a multi-media journalist, her interests lean toward integrating old forms of doing things into news ways of presenting them, with a focus on telling stories the way they want to be told. She has an interest in sustainable agricultures, local food movements, environment, travel, local government, video games, comedy and music.

Laura Ruel

Assistant Professor Laura Ruel teaches visual communication and multimedia journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before coming to UNC in 2004, she was inaugural director of the Estlow Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver. She coordinates the Society for News Design’s Best of Multimedia Design competition. She was project leader for the Poynter Institute’s Eyetrack III research and is co-founder of DiSEL, the Digital Storytelling Effects Lab. Before joining the academic world she worked for more than 15 years at a number of publications including the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Omaha World-Herald and the Rocky Mountain News. Ruel served as executive producer for Coal: A Love Story.

Gary Marcuse, Betsy Carson, & Shi Lihong

Waking the Green Tiger: A Green Movement Rises in China

Face to Face Media

Seen through the eyes of activists, farmers, and journalists, “Waking the Green Tiger” follows an extraordinary campaign to stop a massive dam project that would displace 100,000 people on the upper Yangtze River at Leaping Tiger Gorge in southwestern China. Featuring astonishing archival footage never seen outside China and interviews with government insiders and witnesses, the documentary also tells the history of Chairman Mao’s campaigns to conquer nature in the name of progress.

The film tells the compelling story of a new environmental movement that takes root when an environmental law is passed, giving ordinary citizens  the democratic right to participate in government decisions for the first time in Chinese history. As farmers and activists join forces to oppose the dam and save their valley, they trigger a movement with the potential to transform China. The new environmental law and “green democracy” offer a model for the evolution of democracy in China.

“We’re delighted and encouraged by the recognition of our peers and the support of the Metcalf Institute,” said Marcuse, Carson and Lihong in a joint statement.  “Best of all, in a media-saturated world, The Grantham Prize shines a spotlight on this intriguing story of the birth of a green movement in China.  This recognition will help us find a larger audience for the documentary, in the U.S. and Canada, and around the world.”

Read more about Waking the Green Tiger.


Grantham Prize Jury Comments on Waking the Green Tiger

This stunning documentary film takes the viewer to China for a fly-on-the-wall tour that defies stereotypes and offers insightful perspectives on a fledgling environmental movement.

The lushly filmed story documents how environmental activists and poor villagers in southwestern China stop a massive dam project that would have displaced 100,000 people on the upper Yangtze River. The viewer watches as the villagers get on a bus for the first time in their lives to meet the people from another valley who were displaced by a previous dam project. Together they discover how government campaigns touting the economic benefits of the Tiger Leaping Gorge dam don’t tell the real story of poverty which can follow after farmers lose fertile land where their ancestors have farmed for centuries. By teaming up, Marcuse, Carson, and Shi allow the viewer a rare chance to see footage documenting the farmer’s successful campaign.

These strong personal stories are woven together with archival footage not previously seen outside of China telling the story of Chairman Mao’s campaigns to conquer nature in the name of progress. The movement chronicled by the film was born after a new environmental law allowed citizens to oppose government projects for the first time. Still, many people outside of China will be surprised by the strength of the environmental movement that is emerging in China, where most media coverage barely scratches the surface of what goes on. Waking the Green Tiger allows the viewer a rare view from a Chinese citizen’s perspective and the infrequently-heard voices of outspoken government insiders.

About the team

Gary Marcuse

Gary Marcuse

Gary Marcuse:

Marcuse is a writer and director based in Vancouver, Canada. He has a background in fine arts and environmental planning (Cornell University BFA 1973, MLA 197). From 1978 to 1985 he was a freelance writer and reporter for the CBC radio, producing more than 100 hours of reports and documentaries for CBC Radio programs including Ideas, Mostly Music, Audience, Personality Music, and Radio Canada International. He founded Face-to-Face Media in 1988 in order to produce educational and broadcast documentaries for the CBC, the National Film Board of Canada, the Knowledge Network and Discovery Channel, among others. From 2004-2008 he was a Programming Executive for CBC Television in Vancouver where he was a liason for the CBC documentary unit in charge of regional development and local documentary production. Waking the Tiger is the third in a series of documentaries that Mr. Marcuse has directed which explore the rise of environmental movements in North America, Russia and China over the past 40 years.

Betsy Carson

Betsy Carson

Betsy Carson:

Carson is a producer director with over 20 years experience in documentary film and television. She has produces the features docs of Nettie Wild (FIX: The Story of an Addicted City, A Place Called Chiapas, Blockade, Bevel Up) throughout that time, and has also collaborated for the entire 20 years with filmmakers Gary Marcuse (Nuclear Dynamite, Arktika) and Hugh Brody ( The Meaning of Life, Time Immemorial).  Carson has recently been EP with Mark Achbar (The Corporation) on three theatrical feature documentaries: Fierce Light (dir: Velcrow Ripper), Pax Americana (dir: Denis Delestrac) and Waterlife (dir: Kevin McMahon, with a fourth – Surviving Progress- now in production with Cinemaginarie (also Executive Produce with Martin Scorsese), inspired by Ronald Wright’s book A Short History of Progress. Other current projects include: War in the Mind (2011), a film by Judy Jackson for TVO about post traumatic stress in the military; Tracks Across the Sand, directed by Hug Brody, a Web/DVD history of and for the San of Kalahari about their successful South African land claim and the ten years following that event.

Shi Lihong

Shi Lihong

Shi Lihong:

Trained as a journalist, Shi Lihong initially wrote articles for the English language China Daily. She then studied film at Berkeley where she became interested in observational documentaries of Barbara Koppel who recorded the organization of coal miners in the Harlan County and Ogawa Shinsuke. Who documented the struggle of farmers in Japan to prevent the expansion of Tokyo’s Narita airport in the 1970s. Back in China, Shi Lihong worked with her husband Xi Zhinong on a documentary about the endangered snub-nosed monkeys in the mountains for Yunnan province beginning in 1996. Their work exposed plans for logging in the monkey’s habitat and launched the first of a series of national campaigns to protect endangered wildlife. The film also marked the beginning of their company Wild China Film, based in Beijing.

Shi Lihong returned to Yunnan in 2004 with a group of journalists led by Wang Yongchen, an outspoken environmental reporter at China National Radio and the founder of Green Earth Volunteers. In the spring of 2004, together with local organizer Yu Xiaogang, director of the Kunming based Green Watershed environmental NGO, Shi Lihong filmed a meeting between the farmer of the small village of Xiaoshaba on the Nu River who would be displaced by a proposed dam, and the farmers from Tianba village, on the Mekong River, who were displaced 20 years earlier to make way for the Manwan dam. This short documentary was circulated widely and supported the emergence of a remarkable grass roots environmental movement that united farmers and urban activists and was able to stop and massive dam project. Shi Lihong documented this historic movement over a period of four years. She gave Face to Face Media access to her documentaries and her raw footage for use in Waking the Green Tiger.