As we prepare to celebrate our 50th anniversary, we’ve decided to take AJ’s brand of impactful environmental journalism to Main Street Canada.

Alternatives Journal (A\J) was founded in 1971 to serve, fundamentally, as a ‘literary lab experiment’ to foster conditions to enhance the environmental literacy of all Canadians. We were founded as an academic transfer journal in the then-new study area of ‘environment’. Everything we did in those days was experimental and innovative, helping to share stories, ideas and inspiration that have helped to expand our capacity to engender environmentally-appropriate policies, products and behaviours. We learned and we taught as we published, oftentimes all at the same time.

In the intervening years, we’ve always maintained a quasi-academic mindset as it pertains to operational structures and overarching missions. Today, more than ever before, environmental solutions that are nascent (and present) MUST be brought forward to replace the old, the polluting and the inefficient. It is good for our air and our water – and our national economy to be future-focused, not looking back to an epoch of fossils whose time has truly passed. From the on-campus labs to the boardrooms to the shop floor, Canadians are ready to bring new ideas and innovation to bear to ensure that we are properly aligned as a nation and as a national body to capture the opportunities that the best of tomorrow holds forth its promise.

The idea of ‘climate change’ and that we, as a human society, are facing a ‘climate emergency’ are generally accepted in this country from coast to coast to coast. But there are different perspectives and suggested pathways to explore. To the team at A\J, we appreciate that ‘environmental literacy’, our founding mission, will not be truly optimized until such time as the message and lessons move from the ivy towers of academia and gleaming towers of the C-suite set to the Main Streets of towns and villages of our country. Taking it to the streets, if you will.

Thus, imagine our surprise when a kind benefactor offered us an opportunity to execute a ‘Main Street Environmental Journalism’ satellite office in beautiful Exeter, Ontario. For those unfamiliar, Exeter sits at the crossroads to the Lake Huron shore, a short 20 kilometres from the shore in bustling Grand Bend (ON), 40+ kilometres from London (ON), home of our friends at Western University, and just 80+ kilometres from our headquarters in downtown Kitchener. Exeter sits perched amidst some of Ontario’s most beautiful and arable agricultural lands, while also supporting tourism and light industry. It is home to a diverse population of young families and older empty-nesters. In a nutshell, the ideal microcosm to execute our plan to help refine our latent abilities to communicate the challenges and opportunities of our times more effectively and reach more people.

As an organization, we’ve always taken risks and pioneered new events, media platforms and collaborative partnerships, wherever we’ve called home. This opportunity – based at 378 Main Street South in Exeter – is shaping up to be the perfect chance for our organization to firmly root our stories and story-telling in the concerns of Canadians living in towns and communities like Exeter as Canadians prepare to embrace the ideas and innovation that will power our economy while supporting our environment.

We encourage you to join with us in this journey and look forward to learning, listening and growing our impacts in Exeter, Ontario.



David McConnachie is A\J’s publisher.