The Ecologist

The Ecologist

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The Ecologist is a British environmental publication founded in 1970 by Edward Goldsmith
Edward Goldsmith
Edward René David Goldsmith , widely known as Teddy Goldsmith, was an Anglo-French environmentalist, writer and philosopher....

. It addresses a wide range of environmental subjects and promotes an ecological systems thinking approach through its news stories, investigations and opinion articles. The Ecologist encourages its readers to tackle global issues on a local scale. On April 8, 2009, the Ecologist announced that it was relaunching solely online and that the July issue would be its last print edition. The new website launched on June 19, 2009 at http://www.theecologist.org.

History


The Ecologist emerged from the first wave of environmental awareness that followed the seminal book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson
Rachel Louise Carson was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement....

, which highlighted the dangers of bio-accumulative pesticides within food chains, and that culminated in the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was an international conference convened under United Nations auspices held in Stockholm, Sweden from June 5–16, 1972...

 at Stockholm in 1972. This period also saw the establishment of leading environmental organisations such as Greenpeace
Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

 and Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth International is an international network of environmental organizations in 76 countries.FOEI is assisted by a small secretariat which provides support for the network and its agreed major campaigns...

.

The Ecologist was created in 1970 by Edward Goldsmith
Edward Goldsmith
Edward René David Goldsmith , widely known as Teddy Goldsmith, was an Anglo-French environmentalist, writer and philosopher....

 as a forum for himself and other academics to publish papers that were deemed too radical to be published in other magazines or the mainstream press. The Ecologist progressed from a small academic journal with an initial circulation of only 400, to one of the world’s leading environmental affairs magazines with monthly sales (including subscriptions and newsstand) of 20,000.

As the magazine grew, its coverage became broader and its style more journalistic. The Ecologist covers topics including food, climate change, news, corporate affairs, chain stores, chemicals, pesticides and the corporatisation of the mass media.

It has been accused of being both left and right wing in its agenda, but it does not follow the doctrine of any specific movement. It claims to help readers ‘rethink basic assumptions’ about the world.

Publishing landmarks


A key landmark in the Ecologist’s history was the 1972 publication of Blueprint for Survival
Blueprint for Survival
A Blueprint for Survival was an influential environmentalist text that drew attention to the urgency and magnitude of environmental problems....

(1972), to which an entire issue was dedicated. Writing in the Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 newspaper
, former contributor Fred Pearce described it as "a radical green manifesto that went on to sell 750,000 copies and kept the magazine financially afloat for years." A recommendation of the Blueprint led directly to the creation of the People Party which became the Ecology Party and then the Green Party (UK)
Green Party (UK)
The Green Party was a Green political party in the United Kingdom. It has been succeeded by three political parties:* the Green Party of England and Wales* the Green Party in Northern Ireland* the Scottish Green Party- PEOPLE, 1973–1975 :...

.

Blueprint for Survival follows through the consequences of what happens when humans disrupt the ecosystems in which they exist. It explains that when these systems are disrupted, they alter other ecosystems all over the world. Written in an age before climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

 was understood, Blueprint for Survival
Blueprint for Survival
A Blueprint for Survival was an influential environmentalist text that drew attention to the urgency and magnitude of environmental problems....

stands as one of the earliest forecasts of many of the environmental problems the world faces today.

In the 'Monsanto' issue of September 1998, The Ecologist assembled a selection of articles critical of agri-business giant, Monsanto’s, environmental record. The Ecologist Magazine’s printing firm at the time, Penwells, feared libel litigation from Monsanto and pulped the 14,000 copies of the edition. The edition was eventually printed by a small London printer and went on to become the biggest-selling issue of the Ecologist ever.

The 1998 Cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 issue discussed the human influences on the increasing number of cancer cases and questioned the views of Sir Richard Doll, who was then seen as an expert in the field. The Ecologist was threatened with legal action for running this story.

The April 2004 edition dedicated a special section to the Slow Food
Slow Food
Slow Food is an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of...

 movement, which criticised the health and environmental impacts of fast-food culture, and espoused a ‘slower’ alternative.

Key people


Edward Goldsmith
Edward Goldsmith
Edward René David Goldsmith , widely known as Teddy Goldsmith, was an Anglo-French environmentalist, writer and philosopher....

, founder of The Ecologist, was born in 1928 in Paris and was the first major influence on the publication. Having studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics, he served in the military and within a variety of different business ventures.

Throughout his life he has taken on the roles of businessman, campaigner, lecturer, writer, editor and publisher. With the inheritance left to him by his father, Major Frank Goldsmith
Frank Goldsmith
Francis Benedict Hyam Goldsmith was a British Conservative Party politician who served as a Member of Parliament from 1910 to 1918...

, Edward fulfilled his idea of creating a magazine which doubled as a platform for academic writers who were concerned about the world around them. Thirty-nine years later The Ecologist is still a major source of information on issues such as climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, globalisation and sustainable economics. Edward Goldsmith was the editor from its foundation in 1970 until 1990, and then again from 1997 until 1998 whilst supporting his nephew Zac Goldsmith
Zac Goldsmith
Frank Zacharias Robin "Zac" Goldsmith, MP is an English environmental journalist, entrepreneur and Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament for Richmond Park since winning the seat at the 2010 general election.Goldsmith is the middle child of the late financier Sir...

.

Former editors include Nicholas Hildyard, Sarah Sexton, Simon Fairlie, Paul Kingsnorth
Paul Kingsnorth
Paul Kingsnorth is an English writer. He lives in Cumbria, England.Kingsnorth attended the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe from 1985–1991, and then went on to study modern history at Oxford University between 1991 and 1994...

 (deputy editor), Harry Ram (managing editor), Jeremy Smith and Pat Thomas
Pat Thomas (Journalist)
Pat Thomas is an author, journalist and campaigner specialising in the field of environment and health. She qualified as a transpersonal psychotherapist in 1991 at the Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling Education in London. She lives in London, England...

.

When Hildyard left in 1997 Edward Goldsmith’s initial intention was that the Board of the International Society for Ecology and Culture
International Society for Ecology and Culture
The International Society for Ecology and Culture is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to raise awareness about what it identifies as the root causes of contemporary social, environmental and economic crises....

 (ISEC), directed by Helena Norberg-Hodge
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Helena Norberg-Hodge is an analyst of the impact of the global economy on cultures and agriculture worldwide, a pioneer of the localisation movement, and the articulator of the core ideas of Counter-development...

, should manage The Ecologist. Instead, Zac Goldsmith, who was then working for ISEC, became editor, as the other members of ISEC were occupied with other projects.

Zac Goldsmith, born in 1975, joined at 22 years old as an intern before becoming editor of The Ecologist.

Under Zac Goldsmith’s editorship a more diversified readership developed. In the 10 years that he was editor he developed a more conventional looking publication that could compete visually with other current affairs titles, while still maintaining its diverse content. In 2005 he became advisor to the Conservative leader David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

's Quality of Life Policy Group and is now a Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for Richmond
Richmond Park (UK Parliament constituency)
Richmond Park is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-History and character:...

. His influence continues in supporting the Ecologist financially but Goldsmith stepped down as editor in June 2007, saying, "The magazine has to remain impartial and feel free to have a go at the Government and at the Conservatives. So I can't both be the editor and a parliamentary candidate." He remains the Chairman and Director of The Ecologist.

Previous and current contributors to The Ecologist include Jonathon Porritt
Jonathon Porritt
Jonathon Espie Porritt, CBE, is an English environmentalist and writer. Porritt appears frequently in the media, writing in magazines, newspapers and books, and appearing on radio and television regularly.-Early life and family background:...

, Mark Lynas
Mark Lynas
Mark Lynas is a British author, journalist and environmental activist who focuses on climate change. He is a contributor to New Statesman, Ecologist, Granta and Geographical magazines, and The Guardian and The Observer newspapers in the UK; he also worked on the film The Age of Stupid...

, Paul Kingsnorth
Paul Kingsnorth
Paul Kingsnorth is an English writer. He lives in Cumbria, England.Kingsnorth attended the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe from 1985–1991, and then went on to study modern history at Oxford University between 1991 and 1994...

, who was the magazine's deputy editor from 1999 to 2001, Tom Hodgkinson
Tom Hodgkinson
Tom Hodgkinson is a British writer and the editor of The Idler, which he established in 1993 with his friend Gavin Pretor-Pinney. His philosophy, in his published books and articles, is of a relaxed approach to life, enjoying it as it comes rather than toiling for an imagined better future...

, Joss Garman
Joss Garman
Joss Garman FRSA is a British environmentalist who is noted for co-founding the climate change campaign group, Plane Stupid.-Family:...

 & Georgina Downs
Georgina Downs
Georgina Downs is the founder of the UK Pesticides Campaign. After many years of ill-health, following exposure to pesticide use on agricultural land near to where she lived, she started the campaign in order to change the UK Government's regulations governing use of agricultural pesticides.In...

.

The current editor is Andrew Wasley who joined The Ecologist in 2010.

Circulation


In its previous magazine format, The Ecologist had an average circulation of 20,000 per issue. In addition to the website there is currently a weekly e-newsletter and a monthly subscriber PDF newsletter. Furthermore, The Ecologist has a Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 page at ‘The Ecologist – Official Page’, a Youtube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 channel at ‘theecologisttv’ and a Twitter
Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

 account at ‘the_ecologist’

Editorial content


While The Ecologist does not adhere to any particular movements, its influence on anti-globalisation groups can be seen throughout its history. The Ecologist advocates the principle of localisation, with its emphasis on building community resilience in the face of peak oil
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

 and climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

while reducing food and other commodity supply chains.

External links