Leaving the Journal

From the Editor

I first came back to Earth Island Journal in April 2002. It’s been a long five years since then. The Bush administration has done more damage to the environment in six years than any other administration in recent US history. With a few hopeful exceptions, the pace of environmental devastation has picked up momentum. Laws to regulate dumping of toxic chemicals into our air, water, land, and food have been rolled back, and scientific oversight of crucial environmental policies has been handed out to the administration’s political cronies.

But there’s been good news, too. A movement for true social democracy is gaining ground in Latin America, the site of some of the worst environmental damage done by US-based corporations and American global policy. The global community is beginning to take action to reduce climate-changing carbon emissions, with or without the official help of the US. And within the US, even conservative-oriented state and local governments, municipalities, and communities are starting to seek other ways of living.

It’s been quite a ride over the last five years here at Earth Island Journal, too. We were the first English-language publication to bring numerous important stories to a wide audience, including Bush’s interference with federal scientists and rewriting of scientific policy to fit his Christian corporatist ideology, the disturbing die-off of several vulture species in South Asia, the devastating effect of climate and invasive plant species on the delicate ecosystems of the American Southwest, the disturbing carnage wrought on wildlife by communications towers, and the startling decline of seabird populations as the oceans get fished out.

Five years is a short time in the life of a threatened planet, but it’s a good-sized chunk of a human life, and it’s time for this human to move on to new projects. This is my last issue of Earth Island Journal.

It’s been a privilege to work with the many creative, committed activists that call Earth Island home, working on issues from marine mammal protection to alternative economic theory. It’s been my job to present their accomplishments to you, our readers, and they’ve made that job easy: They’re out there doing important, interesting work.

Of course, I couldn’t have done any of it without my co-workers here at the Journal. Publications Coordinator Audrey Webb, Web Site Manager Matthew Carlstroem, former International Editor Nicola Swinburne, production folks Ron Sullivan, Jodi Ginsberg, and Alan Cash, dozens of remarkably talented interns, and hundreds of contributors have each played crucial roles in bringing the Journal to the public. And of course, Editor Emeritus Gar Smith was and is a daunting role model to emulate, and I thank him especially for the help and advice he’s offered over the last five years. I wish them all well.

And of course, reader, I’d like to thank you most deeply, for without your support and feedback, what point would there be in doing any of this? Thank you for your support of Earth Island and the Journal, and please feel free to visit me at my Web site, at faultline.org.

As for me, I have a few books to write. Be well, and keep on fighting.

script graphic, Chris Clarke signature

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