Written by David McConnachie
Way back in 1971, when we were founded by Dr. Robert Paehlke at Trent University as an academic transfer journal, we were at the leading edge of environmental journalism because the idea of ‘environment’ as a cause for study was still a relatively new concept. It had been less than nine years since the release of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which led to, among other impacts, a national awakening to the dangers of DDT (and an eventual nationwide ban).
Hey farmer, farmer put away your DDT, I don’t care about spots on my apples, leave me the birds and the bees. Please
Joni Mitchell, BIG YELLOW TAXI (1970)
Many of the intersecting topics that we explored in the early years remain relevant and powerful today: how to best find a new path to a more just, ecologically balanced economy, a national ideal that prizes new ideas and innovations over outdated worldviews and calcified thinking. And, as always, the lifeblood of our organization was the students who worked with Dr. Paehlke to develop the stories for each issue. They learned on the fly from professors/editors themselves learning on the fly as the power of environmental education to inform and enlighten a national (and much-needed) metamorphosis in our relationship with Nature became clearer with each passing semester. And throughout our 50 years, we’ve watched with admiration as these students took – and continue to take – their place as the next generation of environmental leaders in Canada and across the globe.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight
Bruce Cockburn, LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME (1984)
The issue that you are holding – PLAYBOOK FOR PROGRESS – was conceived as a follow-up to our recent OPERATION ENVIRONMENT (education) issue. The goal of this issue is to provide a recent graduate with more tools, tips and life hacks to ensure that a career spent doing good would do good for their bank accounts, their CVs and their fundamental happiness.
No dress rehearsal, this is our life
The Tragically Hip, AHEAD BY A CENTURY (1996)
As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we as an organization are committed to empowering environmental communication and then to leveraging that capacity to engage with more Canadians. We do that everyday online at alternativesjournal.ca – and we do that by collaborating with great guest editors like Natasha Arsenijevich who did such wonderful work leading the AJ orchestra and keeping us on-beat and in-tune for the dream issue that you’re holding in your hands.
Stay strong, keep faith. There’s a change that’s coming through.
The Tea Party, HEAVEN COMING DOWN (1999)
We thank you for your support throughout the years – and, just in case you were wondering, we’ll leave you with the immortal CanCon words that Randy Bachman wrote back in 1974:
YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET!