At TIME, our eyes are on the rising stars poised to shape the future. We first joined forces with Rolex in 2014 to launch Next Generation Leaders, our series elevating young people from across fields and around the globe who are working to build a better world. This edition includes, for example, beauty entrepreneur Deepica Mutyala, who is creating better cosmetics for people of color and just partnered with Mattel to launch the first ever South Asian CEO Barbie doll; Nigerian Afrobeats star CKay; and Bolor-Erdene Battsengel, the youngest member of Mongolia’s Cabinet, who is revolutionizing public services for the digital age.
Our international cover features one of these leaders, Olga Rudenko, the enterprising 33-year-old editor in chief of the Kyiv Independent, a startup that has quickly become the world’s primary source for reliable English-language journalism on the war in Ukraine. As we were preparing to go to press, the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a special citation to the “journalists of Ukraine for their courage, endurance, and commitment to truthful reporting during Vladimir Putin’s ruthless invasion of their country and his propaganda war in Russia.” The Independent—founded in November by journalists who left their previous employer after a scandal over editorial integrity—is a remarkable example of the bravery it takes to keep reporting on a brutal conflict that hits so close to home. TIME contributor Lisa Abend has been speaking with Rudenko since the first week of the Russian invasion, and we are thrilled to be able to bring the story of this enterprising editor and her colleagues to you.
Leadership of the kind displayed by these young people will be necessary to combat so many of the world’s crises, not least the consequences of climate change. In more than two decades at TIME, Aryn Baker’s reporting has taken her all over the globe, from war zones across the Middle East to Liberia during the Ebola outbreak. In 2019, as the world marked what was then the second warmest year on record, she wrote from Jacobabad, Pakistan, about what it’s like to live in one of the hottest cities in the world. But one thing she had never aspired to do was visit the Arctic or Antarctica. “I like trees, and I hate the cold,” says Baker, who these days is based in Rome as TIME’s senior international climate and environmental correspondent. “To be honest I was never really interested in going to the poles.”
That changed in early 2020 when she was invited on a Greenpeace-sponsored research expedition to assess penguin populations on the Antarctic Peninsula. After spending three weeks among the glaciers, and in the company of climate scientists and ornithologists, she was hooked. As scientists began to predict an ice-free Arctic summer as soon as the mid-2030s, the other end of the earth began to call as well. Last summer, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy (one of only two U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers) was planning a rare transit through the Arctic, and she asked to embed for part of the journey. The result is her story in this issue about the fight over the top of the world, as erosion and melting permafrost threaten catastrophe for Indigenous communities and places like the U.S., Russia, the E.U., and China (which considers itself a “near Arctic” nation) ramp up their claims on a region that until now held little strategic interest.
“The poles regulate our climate, our weather patterns, and even our maritime food supply,” writes Baker in an opening essay about her travels. “And they are warming faster than anywhere else on earth, with untold consequences for those who live at the planet’s more accommodating latitudes.”
Also in this issue is senior correspondent Justin Worland’s reflection on a new film, Black Gold, produced by TIME Studios and Darren Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures. It’s a gripping documentary about the devastating environmental impact of Big Oil, and a global conspiracy that changed the world forever. We hope you’ll tune in: the film debuts in theaters nationwide on May 11, and on Paramount+ on May 17.