Ghosts in the Ecosystem

A series of stories highlighting environmental issues from the past that are still relevant today

When the moon is in the Seventh House, And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets, And love will steer the stars

(LYRICS: “Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In” (#1 Hit, 1969, from musical HAIR)


These great Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen only every 20 years.

The last one was in the year 2000. Their upcoming conjunction –

When the moon is in the Seventh House, And Jupiter aligns with Mars

Then peace will guide the planets, And love will steer the stars

(LYRICS: “Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In” (#1 Hit, 1969, from musical HAIR)


These great Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions happen only every 20 years.

The last one was in the year 2000. Their upcoming conjunction –

December 21, 2020 – will be their closest since 1623.


Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it OFF and ON?

(The IT Crowd)

Well, hello there! You’ve managed to find this page at this particular moment in time. Although, to be truthful, we’re not so sure about the solidity of time and space around here at It could be the times we find ourselves in, with the calendar blending into the 180+-day period of time dubbed the month of Januly, composed of Thisday, Thatday, TheOtherDay, and the always-popular MaybeTomorrowDay. Maybe we’re dazzled by the Zoom calls with all their guest appearances starring your co-workers (“It’s the ME show!”). It seems like the Giant Chicken is coming home to roost – and she’s bringing flaming chainsaws!

Or maybe we’re just coming to the end of the beginning of an immense period of human change and development, presaged by the Fifth Dimensions in their song referenced above. This period of change leading to the ‘age of Aquarius’ has been fraught, from day one, with the challenge of communicating generational and civilizational angst into a powerful voice that motivates the entrenched power to give in, just a little bit. But little bits, added up, can amount to hills of….beans?

The failure-to-communicate is at the core of this special editorial series, an attempt to fuse the past to the future via the solder of the present. We’re working as a team, internally, to start the series, but we’re also reaching out to illustrious friends and past colleagues to gain their interest in contributing to this through-the-looking-glass exercise in challenging the tenets, canons and paradigms of space, time and citizen indifference.

Because, as you’ll read in other contributions to this series, there’s a glitch in the digital architecture of that defies explanation and all attempts to rectify. Every article -EVERY ARTICLE – that is posted to the home page or in the MOST RECENTLY PUBLISHED list bears the date stamp DECEMBER 1969. Which is really weird….

….because Alternatives Journal was founded only in November 1971, two years after each article’s date-stamp! That, in and of itself, is spooky as heck and believe us, we have tried EVERYTHING to get it sorted out, and have had the brightest minds investigate, well, all except for the Ghostbusters.

The other strange thing, as the team began investigating, was the repeating nature of the storylines and subject matters. “WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS TODAY?!?” reads one contribution. “I DON’T THINK I HAVE THAT LONG” reads another when pondering why 42 years must transpire before the LED lightbulb goes off.

The title of the series is a riff on GHOST IN THE MACHINE:

The “ghost in the machine” is British philosopher Gilbert Ryle’s description of René Descartes’ mind-body dualism. Ryle introduced the phrase in The Concept of Mind (1949)[1] to highlight the view of Descartes and others that mental and physical activity occur simultaneously but separately.

Alternatives Journal was founded at the dawn of Canadian environmental education, and the broader global environmental movement as a whole. 1971 also saw the founding of ENVIRONMENT CANADA and POLLUTION PROBE. We pride ourselves on looking forward while digging deeper. The exercise of looking at our upcoming 50th anniversary in 2021 plus a renewed interest in investigating the glitch in our website – and the ghost in the ecosystem of environmental communication – opened more little rabbit holes that hold intriguing reflections into a time-warped mirror.

Some of the contributions managed to sneak a letter to themselves in the past – or a time capsule to the future. Other contributions stretch the bonds of belief and definitely push the boundaries of ‘alternative history’. Some are thought-provoking; actually, check that, we hope that every single one is a bit thought-provoking, getting you to question WHAT IS TIME AND IS IT ON MY SIDE?

We hope you enjoy this series. And we invite you to contribute, too, if the fates allow and you have the time.




The articles in this series thus far include:

Time capsule articles include: 

2020 to 2099: Letter to Future Self in 2099

Greta Vaivadaite is a Journalist, Online Editorial and Social Media Coordinator at Alternatives Media. Greta has completed her undergraduate studies at York University in Environmental Management, and completed her Masters of Environment and Sustainability at Western University in 2020. Her professional interests lay in advocating for environmental education, sustainable fashion, and a greener travel industry. 

Shanella Ramkissoon is a Masters in Environment and Sustainability candidate. Her background is in the field of Environmental Science and Environment and Resource Management. Her interests lie in environmental conservation, especially for marine species such as coral reefs, turtles and dolphins. In her free time, she enjoys landscape photography, baking and art and craft projects.

Alexandra completed her Masters degree in Environment and Sustainability at Western University. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Windsor with Honours in Environmental Studies, where she concentrated in Resource Management and was actively involved in undergraduate research. Outside of academia, she enjoys hiking, camping, and spending her summers on the beach in Prince Edward Island.

Alex has a background in Environmental Science holding an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies, and a Masters of Environment and Sustainability (MES) from Western University. Alex was born and raised in Barbados, a small island in the Caribbean, and has spent the past seven years attending school in Canada, while returning to Barbados for the summer and Christmas periods. Alex is passionate about the environment as he has been able to witness firsthand the effects of climate change on marine and tropical environments, and hopes to spread awareness about these issues.

Emily Yeung an undergraduate student at Trent University studying biology, hoping to expend her passion for the natural world in a career in marine and conservation biology. Raised in the countryside of Southern Ontario, at six years old she featured as the host of the children’s television program “This is Emily Yeung” in before returning to school to continue her education.


David McConnachie is A\J’s publisher.