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Championing the Environment

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Our library contains 1,300 publications—a feast of magazines, journals, alt-weeklies, newsletters, and zines—and every year, we honor the stars in our Utne Independent Press Awards. We’ll announce this year’s winners on Wednesday, May 18, at the MPA’s Independent Magazine Group conference in San Francisco. From now until then, we’ll post the nominees in all of the categories on our blogs. Below you’ll find the nominees for the best environmental coverage, with a short introduction to each. These magazines are literally what Utne Reader is made of. Though we celebrate the alternative press every day and with each issue, once a year we praise those who have done an exceptional job. 

Audubon rightly believes that if you care about birds, you care about the environment. The Audubon Society’s magazine is a must-read for nature watchers of all kinds, digging into its subjects with a keen eye for both natural beauty and the forces that threaten it. 

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Published by the Society for Conservation Biology, Conservation transcends its modest roots with intellectual depth. From exploring “the dark side of green consumerism” to asking, “Can we feed ourselves without destroying the planet?” it gets to the environmental stories that demand our attention.  

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A publication of the Earth Island Institute, the group founded by legendary activist David Brower, Earth Island Journal reports from the front lines of the environmental crisis. Its global focus and eagerness for stimulating debate make it essential reading for greens.  

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The footnotes in Environment magazine say “academics at work”—but the stories will have you asking, “Why isn’t anyone else writing about this?” This publication covering “science and policy for sustainable development” goes in-depth but never gets out of reach. 

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Environment Yale covers myriad stories from the forefront of environmentalism, whether it’s the U.S. military’s use of forestry as a counterinsurgency tool or “urban ecology” putting teens to work greening their cities. Published by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the biannual provokes readers to change the way they think about the natural world.  

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The Western United States is a key battleground for many environmental issues, and High Country News is your experienced and knowledgeable correspondent. Its watchdog coverage of mining, ranching, logging—and simply Western life—is unmatched. 

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The quarterly journal of the Natural Resources Defense Council, OnEarth monitors what’s happening to our land, air, water, and wildlife. It’s a pretty nature magazine, but it also brings a keenly analytic eye to the societal and political dimensions of environmentalism.  

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The most literary of environmental magazines, Orion takes a big view, touching on spirituality, philosophy, and the arts in its gorgeous pages. Thoughtfully provocative columnists keep it from drifting off into the rapidly warming atmosphere.

See our complete list of 2011 nominees .  

Image by Enokson, licensed under Creative Commons.