IN THE FIVE YEARS I’ve spent as editor of Alternatives, nothing has been as controversial as the Suncor Energy advertorials that have been running in the magazine. Many of you have taken advantage of the opportunity to read the opinions of Gord Lambert, this tar-sands company’s vice president of sustainability. Some have even had their questions answered by Suncor on our magazine’s pages. Others, however, have bristled at these paid editorials.

What they caused me to do is recognize the divide between how Gord Lambert thinks about energy and how some of our readers view this important topic. To illustrate this separation, this issue includes three articles on rethinking energy that express points of view vastly different than what appears in Suncor’s advertorials.

University of Toronto professor and Toronto Star columnist Stephen Bede Scharper refers to Aldo Leopold and Thomas Berry to argue that we need to look at the energy within ourselves if we are to reorder our relationship with fossil fuels. Author, activist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, who is considered by many to be a modern-day Rachel Carson, adds causing the big “C” to fossil fuel’s list of unintended, but tragic, consequences. Finally, environmental historian Stephen Bocking draws parallels between the tar sands and how we dealt with tobacco in the latter part of the 20th century.

I hope that when Gord Lambert and other energy-company execs read this lineup of thoughtful and insightful articles, it will open their minds. The observations presented on the following pages will undoubtedly need to be considered if Canada is to have a national energy strategy, as Gord Lambert, and energy and sustainability experts agree that we require.

Back by popular demand is our Environmental Education Directory. Packed with information on environmental study opportunities at the university level, it will help students, their parents and counsellors find the perfect program. With over 50 Canadian universities now offering environmental courses, choices are more abundant than ever for anyone interested in preparing themselves for a career in the growing green sector. Complementing the directory is Kate Davies’ list of 10 lessons that past social movements teach us.

It’s our pleasure to profile the impressive accomplishments of Earth Day Canada’s 2011 Hometown Heroes, as well as Laure Waridel, winner of the organization’s Outstanding Commitment to the Environment Award. A Quebec native, Waridel is one of Maclean’s “25 young Canadians who are already changing our world.” New this year are inspiring profiles of four of Sustainable Waterloo’s rising stars. They demonstrate how we can all do more to reduce our climate-changing emissions.

Bob Gibson writes about ethics, Mark Jaccard about quick studies, and Mark Meisner considers greening his wardrobe.

For those of you who want even more Alternatives, we invite you to download our podcast that accompanies this issue. Listen to it on your car radio or as you make dinner. We welcome Mark Brooks, our new podcaster, who has taken over from Peter Stock and has big shoes to fill. Thanks to both for their excellent audio presentations of our written words.

And as always, we welcome your feedback on our efforts, however you may be communicating these days.

Nicola Ross is the former Editor of Alternatives Journal, and is a member of the editorial board.

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