Who She?

Emily Green was born in 1956 in Covina, California. After studying French at the University of Grenoble and history at the University of Maryland, College Park, she moved to the UK in 1979. In 1986, she became a contributor to the newly-formed London Independent and later a columnist for the New Statesman. She returned to the US in 1998 and joined the Los Angeles Times the following year, where she worked on staff and freelance for the next decade. Since 2011 she has expanded her work to illustration, including a 10-part gardening series for KCET. In 2015, she relocated from Los Angeles to Baltimore, Maryland, where she writes occasionally and paints rather more occasionally. 


1987-1996 Staff writer: The Independent (UK). Freelance contributor: The New York Times

1996-1998 Weekly columnist: The New Statesman. Freelance contributor: The Spectator, London Evening Standard, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Times, The New York Times

1999-2006 Staff writer: Los Angeles Times. Freelance contributor: London Evening Standard and the “Oxford Companion to the Body” (2001, Oxford University Press, editors: Colin Blakemore and Sheila Jennet)

2007-2008 Freelance writer: water series for the Las Vegas Sun

2008-present Contributor: Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, High Country News, UK Guardian and KCET.

Best of the West award051Notable work: Awards are goofy things and some of the ones that Green has won are goofier than most. She was once named “best farmhouse cheese writer” and given a plated cheese plug for a series of pieces in the UK and US documenting the disappearance of World War II-era stilton and cheddar makers. A more intoxicating gong was a Glenfiddich “food writer of the year”  award for work in the Independent which involved a small silver cup, or quaich, and large case of whisky. One piece in particular, however, gave Green’s father, a Caltech-trained physicist, something to talk about in Leisure World. This was the time when, at the height of the “mad cow” crisis, when reporters from around the world were competing in the same category, Green’s coverage received a top honor at the Association of British Science Writers Awards. The piece, named “best feature,” was an investigation for the UK Guardian about a fraud scientist who had convinced not only families of victims, journalists and politicians, but also a Nobel Laureate, that he had isolated the infectious agent behind bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. She later expanded the research into a large special report for the Los Angeles Times revealing how the National Institutes of Health had been warned about the danger of a BSE-like agent in human growth hormone therapy given to thousands of stunted children but failed to promptly stop the therapy and warn recipients.

More recently, “Quenching Las Vegas’s Thirst,” a five-part series on plans by Las Vegas to tap the Great Basin Aquifer, was a winner with online production staff of a 2009 Associated Press Managing Editors Award and 2009 Best of the West Environment and Natural Resources Reporting Award.

From the Best of the West judges’ remarks: “Emily Green’s series on water was smartly conceived, deeply reported and compellingly written.Water itself isn’t a new subject; the fact of water scarcity and the political battles it causes have been reported extensively elsewhere. But Green’s series brought the issue home. Her series’ structure — profiling five figures — reinforced a key collective insight of the stories: that the state of water in and around Las Vegas is largely a function of the personalities who, over decades, made water-policy decisions. Green avoided easy preaching, instead telling the tale of a desert metropolis’ water fight in all its moral complexity, which made for much more interesting reading. And yet she uncovered plenty of disturbing facts — particularly, in the series’ final installment, how the shifting allegiances of scientists played to the advantage of local political figures. Through it all, Green wove in rich observations, from the physical lay of the land to the politics of the Mormon church, that made the series all the more evocative. She wrote an epic narrative for an epic tale.”

In May 2010, Green was one of 60 cultural leaders featured in the LA Weekly ‘People’ issue for her work on Chance of Rain. Click here to read “Waterblogged.” In May 2012, High Country News published the result of a 15-month study of LA’s Flood Control System in which engineers have been forced to admit they have run out of dumping space for mountain debris choking their dams, but left no rivers intact for the sediment to flow downhill naturally. This was followed by a piece reported for almost a year, and from locations across the Mojave Desert, showing how the US Fish and Wildlife Service has massaged the legally-mandated job of protecting the endangered desert tortoise to simply moving the animals out of the path of development — with outcomes better for the developers than the tortoises.

In early 2015, Green embarked on an online series funded by the Rose Foundation for the Los Angeles-based non-profit TV station KCET. The Assignment? “Explain the Delta,” by which they mean California’s troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. Concurrently for KCET, she wrote and illustrated “After the Lawn,”a 12-step program exploring progressive stages of  landscape reform.

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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