When, as a young reporter working on the Observer newspaper I was sent to cover the 1991 Green Party Conference, my news editor growled after me as I was leaving: ‘Count the beards. Count the sandals. And if David Icke shows up, go to town’. My news editor was referring to the former Green Party spokesman who famously claimed on television to be the son of God, and for a while would only wear turquoise. My instructions are an illustration of how much environment journalism has changed in 20 years. In 1991 even a ‘serious’ newspaper like the Observer was more interested in making fun of the ‘Greens’ than in addressing the issues the conference was raising. Back in 1991, carbon dioxide emissions, habitat destruction and air pollution were all on the Green Party's conference agenda. Beards were not.