Scott was born in Appalachia, with coal miners on one side of the family and gas-pipe layers on the other. So how did he become an environmental journalist? Covering cities and transportation helped. So did Hurricane Katrina. But his biggest motivation nowadays: two kids who deserve the chance at a better future. His qualifications for leading Grist’s merry band of muckrakers include journalism degrees from Penn State and Columbia and 12 years in the newspaper trenches. Scott has written for publications including Slate and Scientific American and spearheaded the digital transformation of NRDC’s award-winning onEarth magazine. He also once let himself get pepper-sprayed in the face, showing there’s nothing he won’t do to bring readers a good story.