Online Media Exposes Ecology Stories

Online Media Exposes Ecology Stories:
Welcome to the Ecopaparazzi Web site
Meet Jeannette McDermott, an ecology activist
27 June 2009
Paparazzi (photographers who take candid pictures of celebrities) are pretty
much universally thought of as an irritant at best, and absolute scum at worst. They
are relentless in their pursuit, they intrude, spy, reveal, expose and shame. There is
no privacy from the prying eyes of the paparazzi, but imagine if the Earth had a team
of paparazzi working for her, a team of Ecopaparazzi traveling the globe,
documenting and exposing the relentless damage to the Earth.
Meet Jeanette McDermott, one of the world’s unknown eco-heroines and
founder of Ecopaparazzi web site. Ecopaparazzi is an online media portal for eco
journalists working to expose the environmental stories that the mainstream media
ignores — bear bile farming, corrupt development, deforestation, illegal trade in
wildlife species’ poaching and the list, unfortunately, goes on and on.
What is an Ecopaparazzi exactly?
The name Ecopaparazzi is used because they don't stalk celebrities in the
sense of the word paparazzi, but they do stalk Earth abusers. They look for corrupt
and greedy governments, corporate leaders, land developers and others who are
responsible for destructive practices that negatively impact all Earth beings that need
clean air, water and uncontaminated soil to grow and/or browse for food.
When we discover who is behind the destructive, and often-illegal activity, in
our communities, we take photographs to document the assaults so we can have
impact in rallying others to stand against the destruction. We also look at how
environmental issues are related, like poaching and poverty and human
overpopulation and deforestation. As every paparazzi knows, you are not always
successful with the camera. Sometimes we're forced out of places by armed security
guards, local police and ferocious dogs.
The Ecopaparazzi web site
Ecopaparazzi was created after Jeannette McDermott and her friend Nancy
traveled to the once-isolated coastal and rainforest communities of Costa Rica to
document the shocking horrors of unplanned development.
Nancy drove, and
Jeannette repeatedly jumped out of the car to snap photos and roll off video footage
of what they witnessed. At one point it became ludicrous. There was so much
damage to the natural landscape that Jeannette was unbuckling and hopping out of
the car every fifty yards to record the damage. Her antics tickled Nancy and she said
something like, "You're like the paparazzi, but instead of stalking celebrities you stalk
Earth abusers. And in that second, a new idea was born and a week later the web
site was up and running on running.
Politicians and developers don't like people to learn about the unplanned, and
often illegal construction, because the stories typically include dirty little secrets, like
kickbacks and bribes. Citizen journalists and environmental watchdog activists have
to step in to be the voice of change.
For example, last year “eco warriors” (environmental activists) began
sounding the cry that Costa Rica's most coveted beach front and third most popular
tourist destination spot had dangerous fecal concentrations. This announcement
resulted in widespread shock and panic. Swimmers and surfers fled the sea, visitors
panicked and packed up, and even banks re-evaluated construction loans, spelling
disaster and a potential market crash. In another incident, when citizen journalists
and community activists made village residents aware that the developers were
tapping into their local water supply to siphon it to irrigate monstrous golf courses
and flush thousands of toilets used by tourists, it led to a full-blown citizen revolt.
The actions of citizen journalists, “eco warriors” and community activists
resulted in 40 large-scale development sites being slapped with cease and desist
construction orders, which are now pending in the Costa Rican courts. The voice for
Mother Earth needs forums for getting the word out, and social media sites like can serve that role.
What types of stories are published on
The eco-stories featured in Ecopaparazzi are both horrific and uplifting. The
eco journalists focus on the damage and the people who are working to solve the
problems. But we also have a feature called What We're Doing Right, which
showcases innovative approaches to Earth healing. And they feature Eco-Active
Celebrities, who are the members in their network that are contributing to Earth
Ecopaparazzi also has a column for eco-education, economy and environment, the
global food movement, wake-up calls that sound the alarm, and eco-scribbles, which are
musings from our members in diary-like form.
Why is a site like Ecopaparazzi needed?
Jeanette went to a peace activist rally a few months ago and saw a fabric patch that
she bought. It says "Don't blame the media, become the media." That's the reality. It is true
that the pen is mightier than the sword. Sites like Ecopaparazzi remind people that they are
the media, and that they have the power to change the world just by getting involved, even
if it's taking one photograph or uploading one poster onto a Facebook profile to bring an
issue to light. Sites like Ecopaparazzi are needed sites as a place to tell stories, because
stories are what connect us as a community of humans.
Secondly, having sites like Ecopaparazzi lets government and industry know
that people are watching. They are paying attention. Their eyes are open, and they
have cameras, mobile phones and computers to spread the word virally about who is
making wrong choices and acting badly. Equally important, sites like Ecopaparazzi
provide a forum for telling the stories about people who are doing the right thing.
Finally, Ecopaparazzi is a gathering spot for like-minded people who care deeply
about issues affecting our planet. Sometimes they need the support of others who know
what it is like to be David up against Goliath, and they need to find encouragement and
share strategies to motivate, inspire and spur them ever onward.
What is the most shocking eco-story Jeanette has covered?
Jeanette has reported on many shocking human activities in nature. It's hard
to fathom sometimes just how cruel humans can be toward other Earth Beings and
creation itself. But the most shocking eco story she has covered is Mountaintop
Removal, where coal companies blow up entire 330-million year old mountains in
Appalachia to get the seams of coal.
The wildlife can't read the blasting signs that have been posted, and are
unaware of the dynamite that has been set into the mountain, so they stay and are
blown to bits. The few that might survive such destruction are suddenly homeless
with no food, shelter or water, and so they wander, dazed and often injured from the
dynamite explosion.
Resulting soil erosion contaminates local water supplies and turns once
thriving aquatic ecosystems into dead seas. Mountaintop Removal (MTR) is one of
the most despicable practices on Earth.
But even more shocking than Mountaintop Removal is another top-ranking
vile human practice — Bear bile farming. This is a practice in China, Vietnam and
Korea, where bears are locked in crush cages no larger than their bodies for up to 25
years, until they die, so that their bile can be drained for non-essential products. This
involves an excruciatingly painful procedure that leads to unfathomable suffering and
agony for the bears. Bear farmers often rip out claws and break the bear's teeth —
without anesthesia or medical treatment for infection and illness — so they can
approach the cages without fear of being hurt. In Jeanette’s opinion, Bear bile
farming is the cruelest and abhorrent human action perpetrated against another
sentient species.
Are people becoming more environmentally aware?
Without a doubt. However, it seems that most people are staying in safe
waters. They are becoming aware of energy use of home appliances, shopping fair
trade, and recycling but don't know much about the perils of the meat industry or
commercial fishing, hidden costs of alternative energy or bio-piracy and seed
modification. So, on the one hand, there is greater awareness within the general
public about the overall state of affairs of the environment. But on the other hand,
there isn't much awareness at all about causes and effects of specific issues.
So, you see ... we are becoming aware and we are staying in the dark.
Without citizen journalism, the most important issues will remain hidden from public
view. Social media networks give us a platform for sharing thoughts, raising
questions and sounding the alarm to wake each other up.
What two types of paparazzi are contrasted in paragraph 1?
Complete the sentence:
Those who _____________________________________, in contrast to those
What does the list at the end of paragraph 2 illustrate?
Corrupt governments and land developers are examples of ___________________
________________.(2 words)
(Paragraph 4) What is the purpose of an Ecopaparazzi photographing the assaults of
a. to document the assaults for future generations
b. to discover who stands behind the illegal activity of destroying the nature
c. to provide visual proof which will inspire other people to protest the destroying nature
d. to immediately punish the people behind the destruction and illegal activity being
5. We can understand that citizen journalists and environmentalists publicize the effects of
damaging development, because ______________________________ don't do so. This
is because they are afraid of exposure of _______________________________.
6. Paragraph 8: "…social media sites like can serve that role." Which
role does the author mean?
7. Paragraph 9. “The eco-stories featured in Ecopaparazzi are both horrific and
Give ONE example of the latter: ________________________________________
8. (paragraphs 11-13) Which of the following are NOT reasons for the existence of
Ecopaparazzi web site? Check (3) three.
____ to feature stories and photographs from Facebook
____ to refute the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword.
____ to remind people to upload a picture or a poster onto the Ecopaparazzi site.
____ to remind governments that someone is watching their activity
____ to bring people who care about the environment together
9. What is common to Mountaintop Removal and Bear bile farming?
Complete the sentence
Both are ________________________________ (no more than 5 words)
10. Complete the following sentence, showing the contrast presented in para 18.
Whereas the public seems to be aware of the environmental issues in general,
11, What might be the cause for the fact that “we are staying in the dark”?
Complete the sentence with TWO words
The lack of ______________________ ____________________.
12, The main purpose of this text is:
a. to show the advantages and disadvantages of the Ecopaparazzi
b. to provide information about the Ecopaparazzi activity and raise
people’s awareness of environmental issues.
c. to show that citizen journalism can raise people’s awareness and solve
important social issues
d. to help people become the Ecopaparazzi members by meeting with
other Ecopaparazzi members.